My Commonplace Book II

All the literati keep at least one imaginary friend.
– Joseph Brodsky

But then you lit the lamp and that was it.
It was no sudden and miraculous glow
But the warm comfort of one window lit

Against the greyness I had come to be,
And I stood weary and I saw it so,
And I called then and you answered me.

– Peyton Houston

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
– Mary Oliver

Young salamanders
Red newts exploring forest
Brother and sister
On trail together again
Too hard to go it alone
– Tom Snow

We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

If you want a deep inwardness,
there is a walk you can take with a friend.
– Rumi

The movement in my self from the mask to the face, from the personality to the person, from the performing actor to the ruler of the inner chamber, is the spiritual journey. To live, work, and suffer on this shore in faithfulness to the whispers from the other shore is the spiritual life.
– Ravi Ravindra

I woke up as the sun was reddenng; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was.
– Jack Kerouac

I read a book
You are in it

I hear a song
You are in it

I eat my bread
You sit across from me

I work
And you sit watching me

– Nazim Hikmet

It is not by rebellion and discord
that the heart’s mirror is polished free
of the rust of hypocrisy and unbelief:
your mirror is polished by your certitude –
by the unalloyed purity of your faith.
– Hakim Sanai

To be able to love and to recognize what love means: Not total acceptance, not blind acceptance, but recognition. To recognize that we move against a common enemy does not mean that we beat the same drum or play the same tune. It means that we are committed to a future.
– Audre Lorde

You never look at me from the place from which I see you.
– Jacques Lacan

XII

If we have become a people incapable
of thought, then the brute- thought
of mere power and greed
will think for us

If we have become incapable
of denying ourselves anything,
then all we have
will be taken from us.

If we have no compassion,
we will suffer alone, we will suffer
alone the destruction of ourselves.

These are merely the laws of this world
as known to Shakespeare, as known to Milton:

When we cease from human thought
a low and effective cunning
stirs in the most inhuman minds.

from Leavings by Wendell Berry

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.
– Colette

I can’t imagine anything better in the world than people.
– Frank O’Connor

The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.
– Paulo Freire

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.
– Rebecca Solnit

I am not sure that the discovery of love is necessarily more exquisite than the discovery of poetry.
– Marguerite Yourcenar

And the feeling – it was ineffable, though like others before me, I will try to describe it anyway. The glowing world was alive – with laughter and fun, and most of all with love. The brightness itself was loving. Each thing radiated love, shouted its affection. The love dazzled but soothed as well, bathing each part in joyous companionship. All were suffused with cheerful warmth, held within the same radiance. At the center of each, knitting us all together, was love.
I had no sense of being me; I had no sense of not being me. The me-ness simply wasn’t important. What mattered, the only thing that mattered, was the bright and joyous love. Wonder was the stuff of the universe; love was each molecule. I felt that I was seeing the world as it truly is.
– Priscilla Stuckey

When times become truly tragic and dark with uncertainty, what is missing is the touch of eternity and a mythic sense of being woven within the ongoing story of the world.
– Michael Meade

I know there is no straight road 
No straight road in this world 
Only a giant labyrinth 
Of intersecting crossroads.
– Federico García Lorca

Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.
– Edward Gibbon

…I need
more of the night before I open
eyes and heart
to illumination. I must still
grow in the dark like a root 
not ready, not ready at all. 

– Denise Levertov

It was at that age that poetry came in search of me.
– Pablo Neruda

As long as we share our stories, as long as our stories reveal our strengths and vulnerabilities to each other, we reinvigorate our understanding and tolerance for the little quirks of personality that in other circumstances would drive us apart. When we live in a family, a community, a country where we know each other’s true stories, we remember our capacity to lean in and love each other into wholeness.
– Christina Baldwin

Lying in a Hammock

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,

Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses

Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
– James Wright

Perhaps this is why it’s so very
difficult to lose a soulmate.
You don’t just lose your companion.
You don’t just lose your friend.
You don’t just lose your lover.
You lose your portal to divinity.
You lose your gateway to God.
You lose the whole bloody universe.

And then you find it again.
In your heartbreak.
In your healing.
In the learning of the lessons that expand you.
In the strengthening and rebirth of your willingness.
In the claiming of your own inner beloved.

Every path is a journey to God.
We just have to remember to open
our heart again and again…
– JEFF BROWN

Can the bourgeois be persuaded to understand that beautiful meals, beautiful houses and beautiful things pale in comparison with a beautiful soul unmarred by greed? Can the bourgeois be persuaded to understand that respectability in the eyes of the community pales in comparison with respectability in the eyes of future generations?

My generation will be remembered as the generation that felt its fossil-fueled luxuries were so important that it was willing to permanently alter the climate of our planet, cause the extinction of thousands of species, and displace billions from their ancestral homes, all to achieve a form of beauty that is really ugliness, all to achieve a form of respectability that is really disgraceful.
– Peter Capofreddi

“What I’m witnessing is that this uncertainty is a great liberating gift to the psyche and the spirit,” she said. “It’s walking the razor’s edge of the sacred moment where you don’t know, you can’t count on, and comfort yourself with any sure hope. All you can know is your allegiance to life and your intention to serve it in this moment that we are given. In that sense, this radical uncertainty liberates your creativity and courage.
– Joanna Macy, On Staying Sane in a Suicidal Culture

The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
– David Whyte
from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Friendship”

Gather what is worthy of your devotion and never betray it. So that, in the end, you will know that, though you be small, you poured out all that you are into what was greater and in doing so, became a part of it.
– Leslie M. Browning

To have an inner life, to think, to juggle and leap, to become a tightrope walker in the world of ideas. To attack, to riposte, to refute, what a contest, what acclaim. To understand. The most generous word of all. Memory. To retain, a geyser of felicity. Intelligence. The agonizing poverty of my mind. Words and ideas flitting in and out like butterflies. My brain a dandelion seed blown in the wind.
– Violette Leduc

New words excited his interest; books fascinated him; he was gripped by philosophical ideas and inspired by music and art. People seemed in no way essential in this ferment of intellectual and aesthetic activity. He felt his solitude, sometimes very acutely. But it was a solitude that he also cultivated deliberately, obscurely aware that something was happening within him, as, eclectically, he accumulated knowledge.
– James Knowlson, Speaking of the Life of Samuel Beckett

The distinction between the beautiful and the sublime is the distinction between the intimate and the transcendent. This sort of distinction doesn’t just happen in aesthetics, but in life in general. We have big and little loves.
– David Brooks

Bashō is, I think, correct:

Journeying through the world, —
To and fro, to and fro,
Harrowing the small field.

Bashō (translated by R. H. Blyth)

Harrowing one’s own small field is an excellent way to spend a life. There are too many busybodies abroad in the world, most of whom seem compelled to tell us how we ought to live our lives, while their own fields are full of brambles and tares.

When I rise, will I abandon
the rigid and gelid claims
of the dusty books leaning on the shelf
or fallen to the floor?

Or will I take those words down to the water
on a bright spring day,
where they could take root
and blossom,
obscenely beautiful?

– William Wright

The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.
– Ken Kesey

We have maps in our minds and we’re believing them. Some maps trigger a sense of separation and fear and emotional pain. If we can remember that the map is not the territory, we begin to have some choice about how much we’re going to pay attention to it.
– Tara Brach

I always think of the Buddha this way, he was unwilling to give up until he was in harmony with his own existence.
– Ethan Nichtern

I can’t imagine anything better in the world than people.
– Frank O’Connor

If I could give myself any gift it would be the ability to re-experience a book for the first time.
– Ash Parso

Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.
– Susan Sontag

We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
– T.S Eliot

The more one is able to leave one’s cultural home, the more easily is one able to judge it, and the whole world as well, with the spiritual detachment and generosity necessary for true vision. The more easily, too, does one assess oneself and alien cultures with the same combination of intimacy and distance.
– Edward Said

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
– Kurt Vonnegut

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
– Muhammad Ali

“At this moment” is a rare thing because only sometimes do I step with both feet on the land of the present; usually one foot slides toward the past, the other slides toward the future. And I end up with nothing.
– Clarice Lispector

This dream is the natural state of man. We live in this dream as we live in the air, and it would be hopeless if we were not able to realize sometimes that we live not only in this world, but also in another world, where it is possible for us to awaken to different perceptions, to another way of being, of thinking and of feeling. The act of waking up can change everything; it is to be born to another world within oneself.
– Henri Tracol, “The Taste for Things That Are True”

Old and blind and in love
with light, he’d reach for
the hands of writers to guide
him back to the landscape,
once the subject of his photo-
graphs. Often he’d see just
how hard it was to render it
right, and would feel free
of such burdens. A last cloud
on a lake he’d let carry him
into night. Breaking sounds
of autumn he’d leave a pond
to compose, rustling the stream
of images. The panicked flight
of the hunted he’d let the dry
grasses capture, their golden
yield his release. Even in
the crimson cusp of an evening
he’d wedge himself, curling
into a ball without twilight
ever sinking him. The man
swam with the fog and its
very touch of resolve. Further
than any writer his shadows
lapped up the sand. All this
in the ebb and flow of a ninth
decade by the tide, an inlet
mapped by its egress to the sky.
And when moonlight would
come to wash his window,
a heavy tome floating lost
worlds on his lap, often
his other hand would read
the apertures of old cameras,
an author’s intent the subject
of his alignments. But when
the milky skies would dip
the hand of a writer in
the milky seas, to the light-
house he’d ascend, dreaming
of being a writer who was
blind, tracing their horizon.
– Howard Altmann

Believe the unbelievable. Enliven the unlikely. Always carry change for the unchangeable.
– James Broughton

‎Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.
– Author Unknown

Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.
– Carl Sagan

Respect is a close relative of tolerance, and both go a long way to prevent and alleviate the negative interactions between and among people.
– Joseph M. Marshall III

Our calling is where our deepest gladness, and the world’s hunger meet.
– Frederich Buecher

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
– Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Aspire to inspire before you expire!
– Anonymous

As the cricket’s soft autumn hum is to us, so are we to the trees, as are they to the rocks and hills.
– Gary Snyder

All things by immortal power,
Near and Far
Hiddenly
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.
– Francis Thompson

Live from your own center.
The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen,
but experienced, unity and identity in us all.
Sanctify the place you are in.
Follow your bliss . . .
– Joseph Campbell

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
– Albert Einstein, 1954

It’s man’s concern for all living creatures that makes him truly human.
– Albert Schweitzer

What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
– Helen Keller

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
– George Bernard Shaw

All that we do now must be done
In a sacred manner
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
– Hopi Elders

Let your mistakes be a comma, and not a period.
– Author Unknown

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
– Mark Twain

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

Overcome any bitterness that may have come because you were not up to the magnitude of the pain that was entrusted to you.
Like the Mother of the world who carries the pain of the world in her heart, you are sharing in a certain measure of that cosmic pain and are called upon to meet it in joy instead of self-pity.
– Sufi quote

The holiest place on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.
– A Course in Miracles

You already have the precious mixture that will make you well. Use it.
– Rumi

Good poetry makes the universe admit a secret: ‘I am really just a tambourine.
Grab hold, play me against your warm thigh.’
– Hafiz

‎There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

O to be delivered from the rational into the realm of pure song…
– Theodore Roethke

I see a great vision of a rucksack
Nation thousands or even millions
Of young Americans wandering around
With rucksacks, going up to the 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

The first thing a young writer sets out to do is to show his readers that he possesses a dictionary.
– Jorge Borges

The spirit of the universe was what I was born to realize.
– Allen Ginsberg

As a poet, I’m with the letter, not the spirit—a classic Jewish position.
– Peter Cole

We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.
– Alan Watts

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

– Philp Larkin, High Windows

It’s always a challenge to find words for what makes me pick up my camera. The impulse is always clear enough; it’s like hearing a bell and turning towards the sound.
– Richard Whittaker

About Freedom

Finishing the booze in the dead of night
Then smashing the glass
This is not freedom

Opening the window
Jumping out, but forgetting which floor of the high-rise you were on
This is not freedom

Writing to your beloved
Confiding all of your private thoughts
This is not freedom

Being ignorant among the crowd demonstrating
In the streets, opening an umbrella against tear gas
This is not freedom

Erecting in the square a white plaster statue of
The Goddess of Democracy, fitting someone else’s mold
This is not freedom

Stopping a tank, telling the tank
To step aside at the very moment history is about to lose
This is not freedom

Shedding tears silently on a beach
Reminding yourself of the solitary situation you are in
This is not freedom

Kissing another man’s wife
Or flaunting one’s own husband while also betraying him
This is not freedom

Seeking a spiritual teacher in Tibet
Then negotiating a coal business deal at a private club in Beijing
This is not freedom

Debating passionately with foreigners in a café
Over the fate of China
This is not freedom

Winning the Nobel Literature Prize
Or Peace Prize and delivering an acceptance speech
This is not freedom

Allowing oneself to curl up in prison
Letting an empty chair sit onstage
This is not freedom

Or allowing yourself to sit onstage
And letting the prison bed which ought to be yours lie empty
This is not freedom

Praying for dawn in the wilderness
Or digging down into darkness
This is not freedom

Sleepwalking in broad daylight
Robbing a bank and obstructing traffic
This is not freedom

Consulting a book
Only to learn who really murdered Hamlet’s father
This is not freedom

Writing protest poetry
And spreading it on the Internet
This is not freedom

Writing for the universe, and not for the Chinese
Yet still having to rely upon others to translate and promote your works
This is not freedom

Condemning tyranny, but also receiving the government’s subsidies
Or living solely on condemnation so as to receive sponsorships from others
This is not freedom

Pretending with opaque symbols
Making an art that nobody understands nor cares about
This is not freedom

Beautifying death, taking “Liberty or Death” to be
More sacred than life
This is not freedom

Letting others shed their blood, so that you
Become famous on behalf of the victims and enjoy longevity
This is not freedom

Having one hundred mistresses
Getting one thousand call girls
This is not freedom

Vacationing or attending ceremonies in Paris
Or Australia
This is not freedom

Going on a North or South Pole expedition
Then writing a diary on the expedition
This is not freedom

Finally meeting one’s true love
Having a happy family and a very lucrative income
This is not freedom

Others praising you to be free
Sincerely admiring or envying your achievements
This is not freedom

My friend, listen to me
Do not put your feet on the table
This is not freedom

Taking off one boot, resting one foot on a chair or bed
Yet still waiting for someone to knock on your door and take possession of you
– That, too, is not freedom

– Mai Mang

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.
– Theodor Adorno

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just go along. I dig life.”
– Jack Keroauc

To live and work attentively in a diverse landscape such as this one—made up of native woodlands, pastures, croplands, ponds, and streams—is to live from one revelation to another, things unexpected, always of interest, often wonderful. After a while, you understand that there can be no end to this. The place is essentially interesting, inexhaustibly beautiful and wonderful. To know this is a defense against the incessant sales talk that is always telling you that what you have is not good enough; your life is not good enough. There aren’t many right answers to that. One of them, one of the best, comes from living watchfully and carefully the life uniquely granted to you by your place.
– Wendell Berry

A poem can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the–not always hopeful–belief that, somewhere and sometime, it could wash up on land.
– Paul Celan

As long as I struggle to float above the ground
and fail, there is reason for this poetry. . . .

See me rise like a flame,
like the sun, moon, stars, birds, wind. In light,
In dark. But I never achieve it. I get on my knees
this gray April to see if open crocuses have a smell.
I must live in the suffering and desire of what
rises and falls. The terrible blind grinding
of gears against our bodies and lives.

– Linda Gregg, from “It is the Rising I Love

late shadows gather in the dark

words unwrite
as they are written
unspeak
as they are spoken

songs sprung
from heart and lung
to tongue

unsung

drunk winds stumble over shuffling roofs
shake his sleep who dreams
a lost love
will not
let
go

recurring swirls
of old gold
blown light

you can’t help
but be in it

as it opens
and falls back on itself
unfolds and unsays

I do not want to die
without writing the unwritten

pleasure of water

– Tom Pickard, lines from “Lark & Merlin”

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness.
– Galway Kinnell

So what can they tell us, the writers of dream books,
the scholars of oneiric signs and omens,
the doctors with couches for analyses–
if anything fits,
it’s accidental,
and for one reason only,
that in our dreamings,
in their shadowings and gleamings,
in their multiplings, inconceivablings,
in their haphazardings and widescatterings
at times even a clear-cut meaning
may slip through.

– Wislawa Szymborska, lines from Dreams

We stand as in an open field,
blossom, leaf, and stem,
rooted and shaken in our day,
heads nodding in the wind.
– Wendell Berry, lines from ‘The Fear of Love’

O you tender ones, walk now and then
into the breath that blows coldly past.
Upon your cheeks let it tremble and part;
behind you it will tremble together again.

O you blessed ones, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginning of hearts,
bows for the arrows and arrows’ targets–
tear-bright, your lips more eternally smile.

Don’t be afraid to suffer; return
that heaviness to the earth’s own weight;
heavy are the mountains, heavy are the seas.

Even the small trees you planted as children
have long since become too heavy; you could not
carry them now. But the winds . . . But the spaces . . .

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Christmas Trees

Bonhoeffer in his skylit cell
bleached by the flares’ candescent fall,
pacing out his own citadel,

restores the broken themes of praise,
encourages our borrowed days,
by logic of his sacrifice.

Against the wild reasons of the state
his words are quiet but not too quiet.
We hear too late or not too late.

– Geoffrey Hill

Just Once

Just once I knew what life was for.
In Boston, quite suddenly, I understood;
walked there along the Charles River,
watched the lights copying themselves,
all neoned and strobe-hearted, opening
their mouths as wide as opera singers;
counted the stars, my little campaigners,
my scar daisies, and knew that I walked my love
on the night green side of it and cried
my heart to the eastbound cars and cried
my heart to the westbound cars and took
my truth across a small humped bridge
and hurried my truth, the charm of it, home
and hoarded these constants into morning
only to find them gone.

– Anne Sexton

Every Song
Stacks of books, every page, characters’
rages and poets’ strange contraptions
of syntax and song, every song
even when there isn’t one.

– Dean Young

We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

FOR A NEW POSITION by John O’Donahue
May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.
May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.
May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.
Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.
Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.
May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.
May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.
May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.
– Jose Marti

Nietzsche: “Not eternal life, but eternal aliveness: that is what matters.”

You are the only one who can study the aliveness from the inside. Biologists and sociologists can only study it from the outside. But the study from the inside is much more exciting than from the outside. Because from the inside aliveness is endless, constantly creative, constantly deepening, constantly broader.
– Steve Gallegos

Everybody loves something, even if it’s just tortillas.
– Chögyam Trungpa

HAIKU
~
That river of fire
called a sunset has finished
burning up the world
~
– Clark Strand

From so much loving and journeying, books emerge.
And if they don’t contain kisses or landscapes,
if they don’t contain a man with his hands full,
if they don’t contain a woman in every drop,
hunger, desire, anger, roads,
they are no use as a shield or a bell:
they have no eyes, and won’t be able to open them,
they have the dead sound of precepts.

I loved the entangling of flesh,
and out of blood and love I carved my poems.
In hard earth I brought a rose to flower,
fought over by fire and dew.

That’s how I could keep on singing.
– Pablo Neruda

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

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

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

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

If language is conceived as a medium, … it is a medium in the sense of a membrane, as capable of blocking the real as of letting it in.
– Ron Silliman

I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.
– May Sarton, from Gestalt at Sixty: Part 1

… Words became my landscape.
– Etel Adnan

Listen, listen, a lesser voice,
a whisper of the wind on stone
along the river’s drouth-white bed,
the shadow of the word unsaid.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
– Émile Zola

I walked for a while until I found the water, the most peaceful place I know. There I sat and stayed the whole day, with nothing and everything on my mind, cleaning my head. Silence, I learned, is sometimes the most beautiful sound.
– Charlotte Eriksson

Understand that writers are not necessarily good teachers, or even good people.
– T. C. Boyle

I just disappeared. I do that. I move into another world, a different world. Like boarding a train running parallel. That’s what disappearing is. Don’t you see?
– Haruki Murakami

If you have time to read Walk into mountain, desert and ocean…
– Nanao Sakaki

We believe profoundly in silence – the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. Those who can preserve their selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence – not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the shining pool – those, in the mind of the person of nature, possess the ideal attitude and conduct of life. If you ask us, ‘What is silence?’ we will answer, ‘It is the Great Mystery. The holy silence is God’s voice.’ If you ask, ‘What are the fruits of silence?’ we will answer, ‘They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.’
– Ohiyesa
Santee Dakota Nation

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

The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.
– Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
– Edith Sitwell

Because, you see, a mother may disappear, but a mother never leaves. She is at your side, just across the aisle, for a billion miles across the empty sands. She buys you snacks and books and a fresh pillow. She stays awake through the long night hoping that you will rest. She weeps in humility at how little she can do, and infinite pride at who you have become.
– Karen Maezen Miller

People, Planet and Peace over Profit – Jill Stein

You don’t need to write a novel if you feel at home in the world.
– Andrea Barrett

as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to use your wings to show you’re alive
– Rumi

We must accept finite dissapointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King

It isn’t that we’re alone or not alone
whose voice do you want mine? yours?
– Ikkyu

Put the Bible on the shelf, and study nature.
– Father Thomas Berry

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
– Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Landscape is a fundamental human defense against loneliness. If you’re intimate with a place, a place with whose history you’re familiar, and you establish an ethical conversation with it, the implication that follows is this: the place knows you’re there. Itfeels you. You will not be forgotten, cut off, abandoned.
– Barry Lopez

For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.
– Simon Van Booy

If I wanted to understand a culture, my own for instance, and if I thought such an understanding were the basis for a lifelong inquiry, I would turn to poetry first. For it is my confirmed bias that the poets remain the most ‘stunned by existence,’ the most determined to redeem the world in words..
– C.D. Wright

The river is negative time,
always undoing itself,
Always behind where it once had been.
Memory’s like that,
Current too deep, current too shallow,
Erasing and reinventing itself while the world
Stands still beside it just so,
not too short, not too tall.
– Charles Wright

I have been standing all my life in the
direct path of a battery of signals
the most accurately transmitted most
untranslatable language in the universe
I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo-
luted that a light wave could take 15
years to travel through me And has
taken I am an instrument in the shape
of a woman trying to translate pulsations
into images for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind.
– Adrienne Rich, “Planetarium”

Turn as we may in our wonderful ease-making words.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic.
– Susan Jeffers

I’m someone whose real country is language, and whose territory is cinema.
– Jean-Luc Godard

This is what transformation means: to cross the boundary.
– Seth T. Miller

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. It’s true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above the ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away – an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.
– Carl Jung

Silence is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living.
Talking is often a torment for me,
and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words.
– C. G. Jung

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.
– Truman Capote

The gist of it is that no one writes alone: one needs a community.
– Robert Bly

Me, I’m incapable of launching a movement. I’ve always been very solitary.
– Nathalie Sarraute

It’s good for the soul to nurture relationships with places as well as people.
– Thomas Moore

Poetry is language coming to its senses.
– Heather McHugh

I want to be magic. I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile. I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. Or under a hill. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don’t want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic.
– Charles de Lint

Homecoming

Crowded, unanchored mind
without moorings, spiritually adrift
citing irreconcilable differences
as reason for the inamicable split
in your splintered personality

Inhabitant of a separate intensity
adherent of an inner imperative
practitioner of a sedentary lie—
buried between the covers
of book and bed

Invalid physician,
nursing recurrent daydreams
recounting tall tales
like Scheherazade
to save your life

Playing with words
your only playmates
but diligently,
using words
to lose words

To sustain the gaze
for an eternal moment
to stir the reader
to poetry of feeling
excite finer centers
sound profounder depths

Having elevated the world
(and reduced it)
to Myth or Metaphor
escaping yourself in exasperation
returning with tremulous expectation
discovering yourself in everything
with wonder and terror, inextricable

Aligned with the bright intelligence of your blood
your position of authority rests in standing still
perched on the precipice of an abyss
in the indestructible and indescribable faith
that all this is mere apprenticeship
for the great promise: Homecoming.

– Yahia Lababidi, “Balancing Acts”

What an unbearable feeling: having to look upon the earth as a conglomeration of individual bits of property, having to consider the world blocked off with the exception of the public highway and those few spots that the mercy of others has been so good as to allot to me for my vacation!
– Ernst Rudorff, “On the Relationship of Modern Life to Nature”

the most exciting thing I know is changing myself.
The feeling of self plasticity unleashes a sense of freedom that is even more delicious than the juice of a white peach on a warm summer day. Feel life loving you..
– Joanna Harcourt Smith

There is something in the depths of our being that hungers for wholeness and finality. ..The blind spiritual instinct that tells us obscurely that our owns lives have a particular importance and purpose, and which urges us to find out our vocation, seeks in so doing to bring us to a decision that will dedicate our lives irrevocably to their true purpose.
– Thomas Merton

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

There is religion in everything around us,
A calm and holy religion
In the unbreathing things in Nature.
It is meek and blessed influence,
Stealing in as it were unaware upon the heart;
It comes quickly, and without excitement;
It has no terror, no gloom,
It does not rouse up the passions;
It is untrammeled by creeds…
It is written on the arched sky;
It looks out from every star,
It is on the sailing cloud and in the invisible wind,
It is among the hills and valleys of the earth
Where the shrubless mountain-top pierces the thin atmosphere
of eternal winter,
Or where the mighty forest fluctuates before the strong wind,
With its dark waves of green foliage;
It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of
an unsleeping ocean;
It is the poetry of Nature;
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us…
And which opens to our imagination a world of spiritual beauty
and holiness.
– John Ruskin

There’s another way to be an iconoclast: By refusing the tacit and willful collusion of confusing our maps of language with the terrain of experience such cartography is meant to point toward — in this way, one can opt out of literalizing idolatry.
Navigating freely, cautiously, and referring to those maps, I find fresh paths, and trodden old trails — some I’ve looped back upon and crossed before, others where I see your footprints and we meet…
– Andrew Kent Hagel

A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
– W.H. Auden

They were words that came out of nothing, but they seemed to him somehow significant. He muttered them over again.
– Yasunari Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain

You’re a rare rare find
A troubled cure For a troubled mind
– Nick Drake

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Brighten my northern sky.
– Nick Drake

The world is not comprehensible, but it is embraceable
– Martin Buber

You, yes you, make the difference.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

Never seek to be part of the mainstream. It is polluted with the very worst toxin: indifference.
– Gary L Francione

The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.
– Leonard Nimoy

Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people–it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.
– Parker Palmer

The poem is always incomplete and always different. It posits an irreversible alterity. The poet can only try to overcome it by the writing of another poem, which in turn will require yet another, and so on. Because poetry is the very place of otherness, no poem can ever go beyond the inescapable condition, this face of always being other.
– Richard Stamelman

It takes a while to learn to talk
the long language of the rock.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

We experience glimpses of goodness all the time, but we often fail to acknowledge them.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

This is what I know about me: on sunny days I fall in love with my own shadow.
– Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Shepherding our attention back to the present helps us find the power to be kind to ourselves.
– Sharon Salzberg

Our own life has to be our message.
– Thich Nhat Hann

We’re singing of solitude, but we’re singing it to each other.
– Ocean Vuong

When a writer sits down and he psychoanalyzes, he ruins his work.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer

I was never taught to believe that kindness could coexist with adventure, risk, intelligence.
– Sharon Salzberg

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.
– William Styron

Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss.
– Paul Celan

When you speak, allow the insight of our collective humanity to speak through you. When you walk, don’t walk for yourself alone; walk for your ancestors and your community. When you breathe, allow the larger world to breathe for you. When you’re angry, allow your anger to be released and to be embraced by the larger community. If you know how to do this for one day, you are already transformed. Be your community and let your community be you. This is true practice. Be like the river when it arrives at the ocean; be like the bees and birds that fly together. See yourself in the community and see the community in you. This is a process of transforming your way of seeing, and it will transform how, and how effectively, you communicate.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Art of Communicating”

Given the delusions and disasters that religious and mystic
thought courts, some may legitimately wonder whether we might
not be better off just completing the critical and empirical task
undertaken by Freud, Nietzsche, and your favorite scientific
reductionist. The simple answer is that we cannot. Collectively,
human societies can no more dodge sublime imaginings or
spiritual yearnings than they can transcend the tidal pulls of eros.
We are beset with a thirst for meaning and connection that
centuries of skeptical philosophy, hardheaded materialism, and an
increasingly nihilist culture have yet to douse, and this thirst
conjures up the whole tattered carnival of contemporary religion:
oily New Age gurus and Pentecostal crusaders, existential
Buddhists and liberation theologians, psychedelic pagan ravers and grizzled deep ecologists. Even the cosmic awe conjured by science fiction or the outer-space snapshots of the Hubbell telescope calls forth our ever-deeper, ever-brighter possible selves.

While I certainly hope that Tech Gnosis can help strengthen the
wisdom of these often inchoate yearnings, I am more interested in
understanding how technomystical ideas and practices work than I
am in shaking them down for their various and not inconsiderable
“errors.” Sober voices will appear throughout my book like a
chorus of skeptics, but my primary concern remains the spiritual
imagination and how it mutates in the face of changing technologies. William Gibson’s famous quip about new technologies—that the street finds its own uses for things—applies to what many seekers call “the path” as well. As we will see throughout this book, the spiritual imagination seizes information technology for its own purposes. In this sense, technologies of communication are always, at least potentially, technologies of the sacred, simply because the ideas and experiences of the sacred have always informed human communication.”
– Erik Davis, TECHGNOSIS

In the beginning, the Bible was a blank page, and the spirit of the Lord sat upon the settled waters, unfathomable silence searching for a voice. Every writer has been there before, an uncreated universe at your fingertips.

The blank page is a blue ocean where everything is a choice. Arguments are unworked, rhythms unfelt, metaphors swirl in the vast sky of mind. Out of this void, we craft our stories, choose our fonts, and sculpt our styles from the clay of human possibility.

Somehow, humanity imprints itself on the world in the stamp of its own style.

Everything human is shot through with style. There is a style to the way we speak, the way we dress, the places we live, the books we read. Each city has its own style, each social circle its own way of being. Style is in many ways the expression of our very being.

But if we express our essence through style, and if the sum total of those expressions makes up the world in which we live, then the failure to see style in the world is a failure to see the essence of our shared humanity. To see the personality behind the city planning, to sense the care in the shop window sign is to humanize the world; to miss it is to live in a world of alienation.

Style emerges from the individual, flowing outward to make its mark on the social scene. The structure of thought shows up in the broken rhythms of speech; perceptions can be seen in the adjectives laced through sentences. If writers are notorious for the struggle with which they seek to find their voice, perhaps it is less because of some peculiarity to which writers are prone and more a function of the infinite freedom of the blank page.

The give-and-take of conversation is different, more a cacophony out of which we might make jazz. Every instrument will have its solo, every voice speaking in its turn, as the syncopated meter edges to completion. The tussle of words and the interjection of arguments, the assertion of self and the falling back in submission, the cadence of voice and the chorus of laughter, fused in a raging rapid tumbling to some yet-undefined sea.

Each of us swims in a sea of intersecting styles. The music in the café, the rhythm of the city street, the pace of the language, the spaciousness of the sidewalk, the “blooming buzzing confusion” of the great world itself, in the words of philosopher William James, crash in on us in waves, edging us to and fro, as we surf the frothing ocean of expression.

The world of objects is internalized subjectively in personality styles; individuals objectify their styles in the world of objects; style emerges where subject and object intersect; and that place is often the scene of epic struggles, the adolescent fighting to express her true self, the Greek Gods clashing over the meaning of their civilization.

Civilization is an argument across generations; culture is a dialectic struggle of voices seeking recognition. Every political debate is a fight over aesthetics, where shared visions clash and values become symbols of deeper human expressions.

If it is a question of how we define ourselves, a question of the way we live together, a question of the scope of moral responsibility, personality style will tend to play a large part in defining our positions; presentation will help us choose our sides.

To say the culture wars are often animated by conflicting styles is not to deny the moral nature of political argument; but moral arguments tend to be suffused with an aesthetic dimension. And there is a reason behind the rationale. Style is not only the outward expression of the inner spirit but also the spirit of the outside world: culture itself is a kind of style and if we cannot see it, we will drown in the sea of our own alienated expression.
– Theo Horesh

How I go to the woods by Mary Oliver
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Having spiritual friends is not a superficial comfort. It helps free us from a trance of separation so deep that we are often not aware of it. Conscious relationships shine a direct light both on our layered feelings of unworthiness and loneliness, and on the truth of our belonging. We begin to respond more compassionately and actively to the suffering of the world. Our real community, we discover, includes all beings. As we relax and trust this belonging to the web of life, we recognize the one awareness that shines through each being.
– Tara Brach

Respect isn’t something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It’s something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated.
– Lena Dunham

I must tell you that I should really like to think there’s something wrong with me- Because, if there isn’t, then there’s something wrong with the world itself-and that’s much more frightening! That would be terrible. So I’d rather believe there is something wrong with me, that could be put right.
– T. S. Eliot

Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.
– Pema Chodron

I hide behind simple things so you’ll find me;
if you don’t find me, you’ll find the things,
you’ll touch what my hand has touched
our hand-prints will merge.

The August moon glitters in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way because of what I’m saying to you),
it lights up the empty house and the house’s kneeling silence–
always the silence remains kneeling.

Every word is a doorway
to a meeting, one often cancelled,
and that’s when a word is true: when it insists on the meeting.
– Yiannis Ritsos, The Meaning of Simplicity

[W]hat must characterize the poetry to come is not the refusal to say ‘I’ but that it try to say it in another way, by the breaking open of the ‘self’ which makes use of a world only because, as an image, such a world is nothing … To say ‘I’ should no longer be a conforming to the excesses of the self, but should be simply the act of knowledge in its most natural place, where illusion and lucidity, each, have their origin. It should be a groping that moves toward the ‘we,’ underneath the stars, even if the road … is constantly obstructed by falling rocks, trampled earth, uproars, which poetry cannot control.
– Yves Bonnefoy

Fear of our own depths is the enemy.
– James Hollis

…In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever more wonders.
– A. Harvey

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
– Marcel Proust

In the spiritual life, winter and spring are simultaneous. The creative imagination, rooted in the play of the Creator, is ever able to find Presence in the midst of what appears to be absence.
– Stephen Hatch

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.
– Theodore Dreiser

Something in us pulls us toward ourselves, quite apart from how the ego or the tribe would wish to arrange things.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

Personhood is not a gift; it is a continuing struggle. The gift is attained later, and only from living a mindful journey where, prompted by an inner summons, we write our story at last.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

So often spirituality, like the false self, is fear-driven, which is not to be judged. But a fear-driven spirituality will always diminish rather than enlarge.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

We can not find any relationship more evolved than the level of development we bring to it.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

When the models of the parents are caution, fear, prejudice, codependency, narcissism and powerlessness, the first adulthood is contaminated by their domination or desperate over compensation for them. Differentiating one’s own knowing from the messages of the parents is the necessary prelude to the second half of life.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

The twin conditions for growth require first that we take responsibility for our own journey. No matter what the historic wounding, we must now and forever assume responsibility for our choices.

Secondly we must also be able to internalize, that is, be able to see that one’s life is generated by choices whose dynamics derive from within.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
– Mother Tersea

The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.
– Tennessee Williams

And meanwhile, outside the door, waits my faithful, my lonely night…
– Vladimir Nabokov

Whoever you are: some evening take a step
out of your house, which you know so well.
Enormous space is near, your house lies where it begins,
whoever you are.
Your eyes find it hard to tear themselves
from the sloping threshold, but with your eyes
slowly, slowly, lift one black tree
up, so it stands against the sky: skinny, alone.
With that you have made the world. The world is immense
and like a word that is still growing in the silence.
In the same moment that your will grasps it,
your eyes, feeling its subtlety, will leave it…..
– Rilke

Thunder
before dawn,
thunder through dawn,
thunder beings they were called.
It had to be a person or animal up there.
Outside, walking to my work shed the clouds
were low, almost black, and turbulent. You could
nearly jump up and touch them. I love thunder.
I could listen to it all day long. Like birdsong
it’s the music of the gods. How in childhood
I adored these cloud voices that could
lift me up above my troubles, far
above the birds. I’d look down
at their flying backs, always
in circles because earth
is round. What a gift
to have my work
shed shudder
with thunder.
– Jim Harrison

All sentient beings are created equal–and it is in our capacity for empathy, generosity and love that we create a better world.
– Waylon Lewis

This must be the mission of every man of goodwill: to insist, unflaggingly, at risk of becoming a repetitive bore, but to insist on the achievement of a world in which the mind will have triumphed over violence.
– Leonard Bernstein

The great malady of [our] century, implicated in all of our troubles, is loss of soul.
– Thomas Moore

Hatred is difficult to understand. But it must only reinforce our commitment to compassion, justice, equality, and secularism.
– Vikram Paralkar

FRODO: I can’t do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding on to, Sam?
SAM: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

Do not settle for labels that presume you will never heal. Believe in yourself. Find a tribe who understands and believes in you too. Don’t ever give up.
– Vironika Tugaleva

We are not idealized wild things.

We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.
– Joan Didion

There is a certain kind of fascination, a strictly artistic fascination, which arises from a matter being hinted at in such a way as to leave a certain tormenting uncertainty even at the end. It is well sometimes to half understand a poem in the same manner that we half understand the world. One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.
– G. K. Chesterton

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

Stop it Now

All over this world tonight
there are souls saying
“No!”

Some are in little bodies,
some in big bodies,
some in long-wearied elderly form.

They are saying “No”
to sticks and stones
and words
that do hurt.

And no one is listening.

Shoulders fall forward,
eye shine fades,
bruises form
on the inside and out.

Hope departs in fragments.

Witnesses
cross to the opposite side of the street,
leave the room,
pour a glass,
turn the music up,
change the subject,
join in.

How much more evolutionary process
is needed before the human species
becomes a species humane
to its own membership?

Don’t shift your eyes away,
refrain from going deaf and dumb.
The future created in complacency
is lived by us all.

See the atrocities there before you.
Listen to the silent and primal screams.
Step up and say “No!” in whatever loving way
you can,
louder than they can,
they are so very tired.

That is someone’s
Daughter/Son,
Sister/Brother,
Mother/Father,
Grandparent.

That is a mirror you are looking into.

That was a person,
a village,
a People.

Have you taken the time to cry out in agony
for the generations of cowardice
that has taken generations
from us?

Flame and rope and gas,
gun and blanket.

How is it that a simple,
two-letter word
has so eluded the masses?

“No!”

It needs to stop.

It has to stop.

“Stop it now!”

– Jamie K. Reaser

My imagination can picture no fairer happiness than to continue living for art.
– Clara Schumann

As we move thru this beautiful & troubled world may we vow to be a beacon of peace, a fearless carrier of respect & lovingkindness for all life.
– Jack Kornfield

Love is many things but it is nothing less than brokenness embraced and transformed.
– Roger Wolsey

The Shuddering & Opening of The Great Eye
My teacher never told me
the real fruit of the path
or how it would taste
upon its first-tasting.
How could she?
Though her mountain-Zen ways
created devotion-to-mountains within me,
her only real teaching was:
“The path up the mountain is your own to take.
I’m just the finger pointing to the moon.
You yourself will become an old mountain upon your arrival.”
That’s when she gave me my true name.
My teacher never told me
there would be times
when the heavy-energies of the world
would get onto me…
–stick to me
–weigh me down
to the point
that I would think
all of it
all of it
is my own.
She simply instructed:
“Sweep off the porch.
Sweep the red dust from your feet
while you’re at it.”
My teacher never told me
what it would be like
passing through this world on fire.
She merely said:
“Learn to be a cooling oasis
first for yourself
then others.
When you have to
cut through illusion
with the Bright Sword of Awareness.
– Wandering Cloud

May we rise up in our love as a fire leaps and kindles.
May we hold our hands
to the fire and warm them.
– Margaret Gibson, from her poem “Blessing”

…But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.
– Patton Oswalt

FULL CONSCIOUSNESS
You are carrying me, full consciousness, god that has desires,
all through the world.
Here, in the third sea,
I almost hear your voice: your voice, the wind,
filling entirely all movements;
eternal colors and eternal lights,
sea colors and sea lights.
Your voice of white fire
in the universe of water, the ship, the sky,
marking out the roads with delight,
engraving for me with a blazing light my firm orbit:
a black body
with the glowing diamond in its center.
– Juan Ramón Jiménez
(version of Robert Bly)

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Only art penetrates … the seeming realities of this world. There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality is always sending us hints, which without art, we can’t receive.
– Saul Bellow

Great things end. Small things endure. Society must become united again instead of so disjointed. Just look at nature and you’ll see that life is simple. We must go back to where we were, to the point where we took the wrong turn. We must go back to the main foundations of life without dirtying the water. What kind of world is this if a madman tells you you must be ashamed of yourselves!
– Andrei Tarkovsky

That’s the sacred intent of life, of God–to move us continuously toward growth, toward recovering all that is lost and orphaned within us and restoring the divine image imprinted on our soul.
– Sue Monk Kidd

Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt
These are the tears of things, and the stuff
of our mortality cuts us to the heart
– Virgil

Three things in human life are important:
the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind;
and the third is to be kind.
– Henry James

To live in the moment is probably good advice.
What else is there but the now
of which nothing will remain but memory
already fading and unreliable.
My past is a pile of losses: parents, pets,
childhood, a hometown, ideals, and god.
Born to a countdown yet I make claims
to “my this” and “my that.

But what can we ever possess?
Last night’s symphony, the blurred faces
of our dead, the way the wind slid
through the dogwoods of youth
are what we may possess just as the sun
possesses the windowglass it shines through.
– Sarah Brown Weitzman

What syllable are you seeking,
Vocalissimus,
In the distances of sleep?
Speak it.
– Wallace Stevens, “To the Roaring Wind”

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

THE MEETING OF IMAGINATION AND REALITY
In studying Buddhist philosophy, from the start, one tries to transcend concepts and one tries, perhaps in a very critical way, to find out what is. One has to develop a critical mind that will stimulate intelligence. At first, this may cause one to reject what is said by teachers or what is written in books. Then, gradually one begins to feel something and to find something for oneself. That is what is known as the meeting of imagination and reality.
– Excerpted from “Meditation” in Meditation in Action, 40th Anniversary Edition
by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, page 62.

I have been born so much / and twice as much have suffered / in the memory of here and there.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

A sagacious student does not depend on his teachers words, but uses his own experience to find the truth.
– Bodhidharma

Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.
– Howard Thurman

Walking is good, but the treasure often is found when you stop to take it all in.
– Tom Ryan, Following Atticus

That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day. – Mark Nepo

The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

You deserve a love who goes along with you
in your flight, who is not afraid of falling.
– Frida Kahlo

You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.
You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.
You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions.
You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.
― Frida Kahlo

I’ve written poem after poem,
as if hoping one day—like the tortoise
—to reach, by way of faulty words
and images, the place where you have been so long,
where life’s lightning carried you.
– Adam Zagajewski

…Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground
underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls
freely upon it after the darkness of the nights
and the darkness of our ignorance and madness.
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,
which is the light of imagination. By it you see
the likeness of people in other places to yourself
in your place. It lights invariably the need for care
toward other people, other creatures, in other places
as you would ask them for care toward your place and you…
– Wendell Berry

Perhaps the most important reason for “lamenting” is that it helps us to realize our oneness with all things, to know that all things are our relatives
– Black Elk

A saint (is one) who does not know how it is possible not to love, not to help, not to be sensitive to the anxiety of others.
– Abraham Heschel

Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.
– Marianne Williamson

But when people stopped wandering and began to build towns and cities and lived without taking long walks together they began to have ideas that everybody’s Inner Reality should be the same, and they argued about it rather than respecting that every person has a unique experience in their Inner Reality.
They began to think that Inner Reality should be as consistent as Outer Reality. This was their great mistake, for then the inner richness of every person began to be eroded, worn down, compared and argued about. And occasionally a strong leader would appear in a city or town who would insist that there was only one Inner Reality and that everyone should see the same thing in it. This was the greatest assault ever upon the most creative roots of the individual person.
You see, this began to destroy the very glue that held people together and that enriched the entire community. The Outer Reality held people together only when there was danger or when people were in need and had to cooperate in order that everyone would be fed and could survive. But the Inner Reality was the source of each other’s gifts and when they were properly shared with each other there was tremendous abundance in the community.
– Steve Gallegos, Dream Visits

Cutting Loose
Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose
from all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, a sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell you where it is and you
can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path—but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be lost,
learning how real it is
here on earth, again and again.
– William Stafford

You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.
– Cheryl Strayed

It seems to me this morning, that if someone can’t love they will quickly cease living. Love says to life: yes, I will take care of you, I will respect you, I will listen to you, I will learn, I will respond to you, I will nourish you, I will protect you, I will communicate with you, I will commune with you. I will meet you, again and again, and I want to meet you all the way.
It seems to me, if we can’t do this, we will quickly die.
Love is life’s wife, husband, mother, father, friend, everything.
– Belle Heywood

When you understand interconnectedness, it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying.
– Robert A. F. Thurman

With imagination, the world becomes, once again, alive and enchanted. With imagination, we can envision (and create) alternate futures. With imagination, we can collaborate with the intelligence of an animate, imagining Earth. And it may be that, with conscious engagement of imagination, we cooperate with the great mystery of evolution itself.
– Geneen Marie Haugen

It’s important to remember that the unconscious, and unconscionable members of the media, are not our friends, are not deciding what to present or how to present it in an effort to heal, support or elevate humanity. They are organized around manipulating our inner worlds so that we are so frazzled and frightened by what they call “news” that we cannot stop watching them. The more we watch, the higher their advertising revenues. It’s that simple. Once they knock you off your center with their overstimulating wave of imagery and languaging, they have you right where they want you. And its harder nowadays to disconnect, because they are also in the news feeds, at the gas stations and airports, everywhere. They are so effective at their game that it becomes difficult for many to distinguish their reality, from our reality. And some actually feel guilty if they turn off the news, because they feel as though they are turning their backs on the victims, which is surely untrue. This is how effective these manipulative practices are. We must boundary ourselves against this madness, and regain our capacity to make conscious, self-honoring decisions as to when, and where, we plug in. We must conduct a “news fast” whenever we feel anxiously affixed to their news. It is my view that there is a criminal intent at the heart of their efforts (see link in the comments below). We must protect our nervous systems and shield ourselves from harm.

Dear UNconscious members of the media: Please take some time off. Seriously- you must need a vacation. Rest, remember yourself. It takes a lot of energy to exaggerate reality, to darken the sky, to shove tragedy in the faces of humanity until we are overcome with so much survivalist anxiety that we are gripped to your news reports. Surely you must be tired out from playing this nasty little game that leaves people nervous and frightened, often without cause. Surely we don’t need to know the gruesome details of yet another attack. Surely you don’t feel good about being pawns in a system that makes money from making people depressed and afraid. Surely your ultimate calling in life is not to be a merchant of doom, commodifying our anxiety and converting it into dollars. When I look outside, I see the sun shining. I see a woman walking her dog. I see a car passing by. I don’t see tragedy everywhere I look. Why do you?
– Jeff Brown

The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are our biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity – then we will treat each one with greater respect. This is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.
– David Suzuki

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
Alive
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
– e.e. cummings

if you can’t handle raw poetry, you couldn’t possibly be handling life all that well either.
– Nicole E. Turiano

i meet all sorts of people who’ve had all sorts of experiences and they’re still confused and not doing very well in their life. experiences are not enough. my students learn that if they have so-called experiences, i really don’t care much about hearing about them. i just tell them, “yeah, that’s o.k. don’t hold onto it. and how are you getting along with your mother?” otherwise, they get stuck there. it’s not the important thing in practice.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

So a relationship is a great gift, not because it makes us happy – it often doesn’t – but because any intimate relationship, if we view it as practice, is the clearest mirror we can find.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
– Dalai Lama

Your everyday mind – that is the Way!
– Wu-Men

We learn in our guts, not just in our brain, that a life of joy is not in seeking happiness, but in experiencing and simply being the circumstances of our life as they are; not in fulfilling personal wants, but in fulfilling the needs of life…
– Charlotte Joko Beck

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
– Alexander Pope from The Universal Prayer

There is no art that is not cosmological, because the productive technique of spacing produces the world each time, an ordering of the world, the world in whole or in part, but always the whole in each part each time. The world is never anything but the indefinite reference of all its points between themselves, and what is called a work of art is each time a singular, monadic and nomadic solidification of the cosmos.
– Jean-Luc Nancy

Scattered through the ordinary world there are books and artifacts and perhaps people who are like doorways into impossible realms, of impossible and contradictory truth.
– Jorge Luis Borges

May we so love as never to have occasion to repent of our love!
– Henry David Thoreau

I don’t want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally.
– Zelda Fitzgerald

Don’t wish me happiness
I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
It’s gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape.
– Charles Dickens

Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.
– Lena Dunham

When things seem to be falling apart at the seams
I look for the seamlessness in things
knowing that things are not always what they seem.
– A. Freeman

Dinner and a movie? Forget that. I’d rather have a picnic and a waterfall.
– Amanda Grace

One cannot predict the next mythology any more than one can predict tonight’s dream; for a mythology is not an ideology. It is not something projected from the brain, but something experienced from the heart.
– Joseph Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space

Oh, how the earth speaks to us in moss-covered whispers, when we get quiet enough to listen.
– Sarah Harvey

What worked yesterday doesn’t always work today.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Story sharing is the most democratic activity in the world.
All our personal stories are equally valid.
When you tell your own story, others are best inclined to listen.
If we lose our stories we lose our life, especially our life together.
– Dana Snyman, South African writer and storyteller

Dialogue is the container in which pain and anger are honestly expressed.
It is the lens through which we can see beyond the flames, beyond right and wrong,
deep into the sacred space where stories make us human again and explain the source of our pain
and make us see the human being who struggles to cling to hope
his or her only life jacket in a sea of conflict.
– Chris Spies, South African facilitator and mediator

Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.
– Karen Armstrong

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
– Albert Camus

How true Daddy’s words were when he said: ‘All children must look after their own upbringing.’ Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.
– Anne Frank

We can’t dismiss the Earth in favor of the light, just like we can’t deny the light in favor of the Earth. And to me, spiritual maturity is being able to live in both worlds….When the divine incarnates, something remarkable happens. And it happens because it is incarnated.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The computer is filling my head with too-bright flickering images & sharp fragments of ego. It’s giving me a sugar rush, scattering my thoughts, shaking me & fizzing me up.

I want to let my roots push deeper: into books, into the earth, into shared cups of tea and spiritual practice and slow walks to the post office and work-mindfully-done.

It’s hard to connect with beauty, with love. When we love deeply, we grieve deeply. When we open up space in our heads and hearts, the stuff we’ve been avoiding wells up – black and sticky like tar. Asking for our attention. Threatening to overwhelm us.

I want to hold to the simplicity of a black cat, of a bird. The robin that’s nesting in our archway, and who flies past pink boughs of valerian – back and forth, back and forth, his orange breast glowing.

It’s not the world that is scattered. We are choosing comforting fizz over the uncharted awesomeness of space. We can choose to take in cool refreshing water from deep deep roots anywhere – even here.

Look at the cat and the bluebird for a little while. Allow yourself to be driven into your own heart.

“Anything that pushes us into the depths of our being is very hard to bear. I find it hard to bear. Sometimes I open a book that’s so beautiful I have to shut it because it hurts me. I can’t stand it. It’s like, Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! This is going to drive me into my own heart.

A day or two days later I’m saying, All right, and I just surrender to it: Do it to me. Go ahead. I want it. I don’t want it. I want it. I don’t want it.”
– Satya Robin + Marie Howe

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We live on a planet that specializes in glorious sunsets and wild birdsong. If you are too busy you will miss the beauty all around you.
– Ed & Deb Shapiro

On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.
– Robin Sharma

If you smell like a book,
Yes, I find that intoxicating!
If you look at me, and I see
Chapters in your eyes,
I’m in love!
– Eric Cockrell

Underneath our lives with their veneer of control and predictability, a deep, profound truth still resonates in us; by some grace, our souls still whisper to us, our wildness still calls to us, and it is up to us whether we listen.
– Renee Askins

This grief is ours and more than ours. And when we dance with our grief, we touch joy. And when we dance with our joy, we touch grief. And when we surrender to this dance of joy and grief, we discover a profound intimacy with the world, with each other, and with life itself.
– Laura Weaver

Very little grows
on jagged rock.
Be ground.
Be crumbled,
so wildflowers will come up
where you are.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.
– Rumi

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive…To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.
– Bill Watterson

What we want
is never simple.
We move among the things
we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names
–now they want us.

But what we want appears
in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past,
holding out our arms
and in the morning
our arms ache.
We don’t remember the dream,
but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day
as an animal is there
under the table,
as the stars are there
even in full sun.

– Linda Pastan

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
– Leonard Cohen

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
– A.A. Milne

Summer Solstice
BY STACIE CASSARINO
I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.

I step out and suddenly notice this.

Summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving.

Birds grow less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc, a call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard right down to the secret mood and the child also hears.

One hears in the silence that follows the great desire for approval and love which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it like a thing floating out on a frail but perfect twig end.

Light seeming to darken in it yet glow.

Please, it says, but not with the eager and need of spring.

Come what may, says summer, smack in the middle I will stand and breathe, the future is a super fluidity I do not taste, no, there is no numbering here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotions, no, also no memory. We have it all now and all there ever was is us now.
– Jorie Graham
from Later In Life

I step out and suddenly notice this.
Summer arrives, has arrived, is arriving.
Birds grow less than leaves although they cheep, dip, arc, a call across the tall fence from an invisible neighbor to his child is heard right down to the secret mood and the child also hears.
One hears in the silence that follows the great desire for approval and love which summer holds aloft, all damp leeched from it like a thing floating out on a frail but perfect twig end.
Light seeming to darken in it yet glow.
Please, it says, but not with the eager and need of spring.
Come what may, says summer, smack in the middle I will stand and breathe, the future is a super fluidity I do not taste, no, there is no numbering here, it is a gorgeous swelling, no emotion, as in this love is no emotions, no, also no memory. We have it all now and all there ever was is us now.
– Jorie Graham
from Later In Life

The American idea that we should live as largely as our income permits, rather than living modestly and saving our resources for those in need, is destined to be the downfall of our republic. Who is responsible for this idea? Two villains come to mind. First, advertisers. Their job is to create an image where consumption of their products is a virtue. Second, idolaters. They seduce us into thinking respectability consists in beautiful possessions, rather than a beautiful soul.
– Peter Capofreddi

As never before, our world needs warmth in its cold, metallic heart, warmth to go on and face what has been made of human life, warmth to remain humane and kind.
– Henry Beston

The only authority I respect is the one that causes butterflies to fly south in fall and north in springtime.
– Tom Robbins

Literature led me to freedom, not the other way round.
– Ismail Kadare

I want to write a novel about Silence,” he said; “the things people don’t say.
– Virginia Woolf

I’ll rise up as a poem…
– Marina Tsvetaeva

The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself. Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame.
– G. K. Chesterton

There is a heartbeat of the world,
And since I love you,
I am always listening to it.
It’s in my own heart.
– Belle Heywood

I am your friend. a soul for your soul. a place for your life. home. know this. sun or water. here or away. we are a lighthouse. we leave. and we stay.
– Nayyirah Waheed

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
– Black Elk

There is no greater battle in life than the battle between the parts of you that want to be healed and the parts of you that are content remaining broken.
– Iyanla Vanzant

Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Talent is a pursued interest.
Anything that you’re willing to practice,
you can do.
– Bob Ross

The French called this time of day ‘l’heure bleue.’ To the English it was ‘the gloaming.’ The very word ‘gloaming’ reverberates, echoes—the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour—carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone.
– Joan Didion, from Blue Nights

I went to a masquerade Disguised as myself. Not one of my friends Recognized.
– Bob Kaufman

He Was Lucky
by Anna Swir

An old man
leaves the house, carrying books.
A German soldier snatches the books
and throws them in the mud.

The old man picks up the books,
the soldier hits him in the face.
The old man falls,
the soldier kicks him and walks away.

The old man
lies in mud and blood.
Underneath he feels
the books.

it is much more important to have a mind that wants to be taught than wants to teach.
– Belle Heywood

I’ve made an effort to nurture the feminine in myself.
– James Salter

In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.
– Ryōkan

National parks are the breathing spaces for a society that increasingly holds its breath.
– Terry Tempest Williams

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it . . . Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.
– Lyndon B. Johnson

You’ve earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings.
– David Wagoner

Langsyne, when life was bonnie.
An’ a’ the skies were blue,
When ilka thocht took blossom,
An’ hung its heid wi’ dew,
When winter wasna’ winter,
Though snaws cam’ happin doon,
Langsyne, when life was bonnie,
Spring gaed a twalmonth roun.

Langsyne, when life was bonnie,
An’ a’ the days were lang;
When through them ran the music
That comes to us in sang,
We never wearied liltin’
The auld love-laden tune;
Langsyne when life was bonnie,
Love gaed a twalmonth roun’.

Langsyne, when life was bonnie
An’ a’ the warl was fair,
The leaves were green wi’ simmer,
For autumn wasna there.
But listen hoo they rustle,
Wi’ an eerie, weary soun’,
For noo, alas, ’tis winter
That gangs a twalmonth roun’.
– Alexander Anderson

It is still the same beginning. Life is ceaselessly altering, and there isn’t a place in the world where we belong. Beginnings have no arrival, no final destination. Hope is homeless, but indomitable, flowing beneath an awning between glinting spots of light on the calm surface of the water. Bare and finely cut, shining with moist resin. A heart of poplar and spruce, light and thin enough to vibrate and resonate with everything that passes.
– Jens Christian Grøndahl

Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul’s break for freedom.
– David Whyte

Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.
– Yehuda Berg

We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.”\
– Gavin Pretor-Pinney, The Cloud Appreciation Society

if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.
– Pema Chodron

What is heavy turns to spirit – Rainer Maria Rilke

What is heavy turns to spirit. What is hard and heavy cannot help but eventually become like a cup of ink poured out into the ocean. I do not doubt that for a time the ink darkens the water, displaces and obscures the light, leeches out its tendrils and stains what it touches. But eventually the ink must break down into its smallest elements. The stain becomes only a faint shadow and barely noticeable to the outer eye. This does not belittle the awful impact of a cup full of shadow. It is only to say, that in an ocean of goodness, in an expanse of health and light, a cup full of dark can only prevail for so long until it is overcome and transformed back into spirit, back into it’s smallest elements – to be taken back into the whole and healed.

Do not despair while we still live in an ocean of light.
– Carrie Newcomer

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

Always the half-guessed miraculous line
trembled on the edge of being
in this language, and was almost, and faded
into the expectable ordinary poem.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, Almost and Always

I must have two sides,
two mouths, two minds,
two lives: one that worries about the future
while the other
sleepwalks through the fire.
– David Hernandez

I am convinced that memory has a gravitational force. It is constantly attracting us. Those who have a memory are able to live in the fragile present moment. Those who have none don’t live anywhere.
– Patricio Guzmán, Nostalgia de la luz
(Nostalgia for the Light) (Icarus Films, 2010)

It Acts Like Love

It acts like love – music,
it reaches toward the face, touches it,
and tries to let you know
His promise: that all will be okay.

It acts like love – music, and tells the feet, “You do not have to be so burdened.”

My body is covered with wounds this world made,

but I still longed to kiss Him, even when God said,

“Could you also kiss the hand that caused each scar,

for you will not find me until you do.”

It does that – music –
helps us to forgive.

– Rabia (c. 717-801)

It’s not only what you’re doing in the present moment to help others that matters, but also what you’re doing to improve yourself, to make yourself a kinder, wiser, and more aware person. If you’re on a path of continuous moral and intellectual self-improvement, you will be able to help others in new ways with each passing year, sometimes in ways you never could have imagined.
– Peter Capofreddi

Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

So many indigenous people have said to me that the fundamental difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that even the most open-minded westerners generally view listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to the way the world really is. Trees and rocks and rivers really do have things to say to us.
– Derrick Jensen

Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk.
– Leo Buscaglia

That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the
metaphysics of books.
– Walt Whitman

Whole worlds exist and we think consciousness is somehow transcendently special or more wonderful than what already is…
Oh humans, how we humor ourselves.
– Andrew Kent Hagel

the Other world is a pulsing, inspired realm right next to the world of measurements and facts… it is the inner-world and underworld, ever alive with birds that speak and shining cities under the waves. The Other world remains in the depths of memory just as certainly as the ancient paintings that waited to be discovered in prehistoric caves.
– Michael Meade from the Water of Life

There is another world
and it is this one.
– Eugene Ionesco

The imagination is a dimension of non-local information.
-Terence McKenna

SELF-DECEPTION CREATES A DREAM WORLD
Self-deception seems always to depend upon the dream world, because you would like to see what you have not yet seen, rather than what you are now seeing. Self-deception manifests in trying to create or recreate a dream world, the nostalgia of the dream experience. The opposite of self-deception is just working with the facts of life.
– Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa

To deny, to believe, and to doubt — these are to men what running is to horses.
– Blaise Pascal

People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know again that we desire it. We need to experience a landscape that is timeless, whose agenda moves at the pace of speciation and glaciers. To be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives as much as we do ours, and none of which could possibly care less about us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd. It reminds us why, in those cases in which our plans might influence many future generations, we ought to choose carefully. Looking out on a clean plank of planet earth, we can get shaken right down to the bone by the bronze-eyed possibility of lives that are not our own.
– Barbara Kingsolver

Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul’s break for freedom.
– David Whyte

The whole thrust of the Buddha’s teaching is to master the mind. If you master the mind, you will have mastery over body and speech, and your own and others’ suffering can only come to an end. But if you leave the mind full of negative emotions, then however perfect the actions of your body and the words you speak might seem, you are far from the path. Mastery of the mind is achieved through constant awareness of all your thoughts and actions. Check your mind over and over again, and as soon as negative thoughts arise, remedy them with the appropriate antidotes. When positive thoughts arise, reinforce them by dedicating the merit they bring, wishing that all sentient beings be established in ultimate enlightenment.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Spiritual work is more about becoming yourself than changing yourself.
– JackKornfield

We all carry the gene of poetry.
– Andrei Voznesensky

Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble.
– French Proverb

Wake up. Notice how things grow. Don’t be afraid to see what you see, hear what you hear, think what you think, or feel what you feel. Attend sunrises.
– Douglas Wood

The fact is that poetry is not the books in the library . . . Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book, the discovery of the book.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Someone with whom you have a philosophical disagreement can often be your most valuable ally, for they teach you to be more broad-minded and to refine your own position.
– Roger D. Allen

So a little spring prays to the ocean, so the beating heart prays to the heart of the universe, so the little word prays to the great Logos, so a dust speck prays to the earth, so the earth prays to the cosmos, so the one prays to the billion, so human love prays to God’s love, so always prays to never, so the moment prays to eternity, so the snowflake prays to winter, so the frightened beast prays to the forest silence, so uncertainty prays to beauty itself.

And all these prayers are heard.
– Anna Kamieńska

Summer cicada
chants from a
pine branch —
an electric sitar
at sunrise.

Loosen your grip
let go
let yourself be breathed.
Something
beneath everything
is holding you.
– Wandering cloud

Cultures fall apart in two places at once: where its youth are rejected and where its elders are forgotten.
– Michael Meade

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

THE POET

moves forward
to that edge
but lives sensibly,

through the senses
not because of them.

Above all he watches
where he steps.,
as if it matters
where he leaves his prints.

The senses overwhelm him
at his peril.

Though he must be taken
by something greater.
That is what he uses
senses to perceive.

The poet’s

task is simple.
He looks for quiet,
and speaks to what
he finds there.

But like Blake
in his engraving shop,
works with the fierceness
of acid on metal.

Melting apparent
surfaces away
and displaying the infinite
which was hid.

In the early morning he listens
by the window,
makes
the first utterance
and tries to overhear
himself
say something,
from which
in that silence,
it is impossible to retreat.

– David Whyte

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
– C.S. Lewis

Many people think they have understanding, but it doesn’t hold up under testing. Put yourself in all kinds of adverse situations, get yourself talked against, be the butt of ridicule and hate, and watch your reactions. If you are not inwardly disturbed, if you can dismiss all feelings of hurt and injustice and keep only love in your heart, that is real understanding. …It is wonderful to live that way.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

There is a light seed inside
you fill it with yourself, or it dies

I am caught in this curling energy, you’re here!
Whoever is calm and sensible is insane!

Do you think I know what I am doing?
That for one breath or half breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

– Rumi

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all . . . living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
– THOMAS MERTON

If there were no grace and no kindness,
conversation would be useless, and
nothing we do would matter.
– Rumi

Anxiety is the dizziness of Freedom.
– Kierkegaard

I would distinguish between a visitor and a pilgrim: both will come to a place and go away again, but a visitor arrives, a pilgrim is restored. A visitor passes through a place; the place passes through the pilgrim.
– Cynthia Ozick

…Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.

Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

REMEMBER
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.
– Joy Harjo

In short, the greatest gift of relationship proves to be that as the result of encountering each other, we are obliged to grow larger than we had planned.
– James Hollis

All those who try to unveil the mysteries always have tragic lives. At the end they are always punished.
– Anaïs Nin

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
– William Henry Channing

I felt like summer had taken me over.
– Junot Diaz

When nothing whatsoever is conceptualized,
How could you possibly go astray?
Annihilate your conceptions. And rest.
– Machig Labdron

Testimony
(for my daughters)
I want to tell you
that the world is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.
I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby’s fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death.
I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
“a great and common tenderness”,
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.
– Rebecca Baggett

I trust the mystery. I trust what comes in silence and what comes in nature where there’s no diversion. I think the lack of stimulation allows us to hear and experience a deeper river that’s constant, still, vibrant, and real. And the process of deep listening with attention and intention catalyzes and mobilizes exactly what’s needed at that time.
– Angeles Arrien

We are living, on the contrary, one of the most exhilarating moments of the twentieth century: a moment in which new generations, without the prejudices of the past, without theories presenting themselves as ‘absolute truths’ of history, are constructing new emancipatory discourses, more human, diversified and democratic. The eschatological and epistemological ambitions are more modest, but the liberating aspirations are wider and deeper.
– Ernesto Laclau

The wider the love, the deeper the silence the higher the quality of your presence.
– Nithya Shanti

Early Rising
by Richard Tillinghast

At first you were famously not good at it.
You were coaxed, given cocoa, lectured a bit.
On the morning of a journey they would gather you up
And bundle you into the station wagon, asleep
Or pretending sleep, among pillows and soft voices,
While the car made its turnings through darkened places.

Later you found within yourself a scoutlike
Hardihood, and it became a point of pride
To be up and about before the world awoke,
Crossing in darkness an unruffled lake,
Cold air stiff in your face, the revved-up outboard
Full throttle, with a full day’s fishing up ahead.

Then it was books and mugs of tea and the search
For knowledge—the milk jug on the windowsill
Filling with snow, clock ticking, the scratch
Of a fountain pen that moved trancelike in your hand.
And from some far-off church the sound of a bell
Profound as the unplumbed depths of Walden Pond.

But now when you wake you are old. The years
Come crowding back. When you get up, the boards creak
Underfoot. You are the first to tread these floors
Today. When you switch on the light you take the clock
By surprise. You want a bell, but the air here is silent.
The only church is the church of early rising.

If you could find the book you want to read
Before the sky flames and the east goes apple green,
You would find in it the poem you want to write.
You would find there a bell, a lake, a boat,
The clarity of first light and first manhood,
The journey over still waters before dawn.

Become a poet, then, an artist, a wild lover of the silence.
– Jeff Foster

Without a conscious descent to the roots of our humanness, we have little empathy for all that lives and breathes, from the sacredness of this blessed earth to our fellow human beings. It could be said that our willingness to journey to our depths is a measure of our willingness to embrace the richness, complexity and mystery that is life itself.
– Luisa Kolker

Poetry may make us . . . a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves. – T. S. Eliot

When I was younger I thought my knowledge would increase with years, that it was steadily expanding like the universe. A constantly widening area of certainty that correspondingly displaced and diminished the reach of uncertainty. I was really very optimistic. With the passage of time I must admit that I know roughly as much as then, perhaps even slightly less, and with nothing like the same certainty. My so-called experiences are not the same as knowledge. It is more like, how shall I put it, a kind of echo chamber in which the little I know rings hollow and inadequate. A growing void around a scant knowledge that rattles foolishly like the dried-up kernel in a walnut. My experiences are experiences of ignorance, its boundlessness, and I will never discover how much I still don’t know, and how much is something I believed.”
– Jens Christian Grøndahl

It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.
– L. M. Montgomery

To avoid going numb when encountering the pain of the world, we need access to the warrior within, the one who can ask: “What deeper resource is this adversity calling on me to bring forth?” In learning to make use of suffering to cultivate our capacities for strength, vision, love, faith, or humor, we forge the vessel of soul and begin to free ourselves from resentments or depression about the state of the world. And we may find that the earth in her plight is calling us to waken like this, and that as we do so, she awakens as well, through us. In this way, the broken-hearted warrior is able to keep on loving, in spite of everything.

When the heart breaks open, it marks the beginning of a real love affair with this world. It is a broken-hearted love affair, rather than the conventional kind based on hope and expectation. Only in this fearless love that can respond to life’s pain as well as its beauty can we be of real help to ourselves or anyone else in this difficult age. The broken-hearted warrior is an essential architype for our time.

– John Welwood

You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.
– Evan Esar

I am a part of everything that I have read.
– Theodore Roosevelt

That’s what turns young men and women into writers—the happiness you discover living in books.
– Paul Auster

Compassion is the ability to see clearly into the nature of suffering.
– Joan Halifax

A poet’s state of mind is seeing the world with a double exposure.
– Yehuda Amichai

Without compassion, we will never know anyone or anything,
not even our own story.
Too much judgment, too many ideas and
attitudes will stand in the way of the fundamental principle
that we are similar to, connected with,
and part of everything else.
– Deena Metzger

Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.
– Ben Okri

When you ask your lover what he is thinking,
aren’t you really asking

Do I occur to you? do I take place?

Sometimes to walk toward anyone
is the wilderness.
– Christina Davis
Border Patrol

They are the same aren’t they,
The presumed landscape and the dream of home[?]
– John Ashbery

A response to someone’s challenge:

You may have more “change agency” than I do, which may be of great value for the projects you take on in your life. Maybe that means you are more adaptable, or more capable of disentangling stories, although I think it wise to consider the story-related decisions we make very carefully. If I am slow, perhaps that is why. I’m not sure whether I can say that my self identity examination is “basal”. It feels like the bottom level of the 3rd basement dropped out and opened a passageway into something I hesitate to call God. It has radically changed the whole way I relate to terms like identity. I relate to my life as an opportunity for growth and I am growing, even if others are unable to see the outward signs.

I am chasing something that has more fundamental importance to me than money, or personal acquisition of any kind. I am chasing something that is more important to me than any specific friendship, or than having a girlfriend, although I consider friendship and love to be very important and I encourage them whenever possible.

What I am chasing reflects every perception I have about what reality is and what possibilities it has. If humanity is a large bud at the tip of history, I am doing it for the flower that will open brightly from it in the future if it can. My pain is everyone’s pain. I am exposed on all sides and surviving it has required profound courage.

I am courageous. I choose this with all of what I am. There is no regret more fundamental than the one that I would feel from stepping away. I wish I was stronger in every area that would facilitate a fuller expression of what I am striving to become. I am very self-reflective and am always looking for ways of recalibrating my routines to get stronger in those areas. Getting stronger takes time, however I am generally very patient. But I am doing work that I think is urgent, so I don’t feel like I have much time.

I love my life. I don’t think my situation is “ideal”, but perhaps that just means that I’m being tested in the areas where I’m still weak.

My “life or death” frame serves me deeply. If I die without offering the deepest gift I can with the time allotted to me, I think it tragic that it will be lost to the world. If the world fails to reclaim me from alienation it will reflect a deep failure of conscience. I am grateful to have been strong enough to survive and recover from the savage emotional beatings I was given over years. I’ve known a number of people who have been destroyed by less… Or maybe I haven’t, since it’s impossible to know just what it is to look out at the world from another’s point of view. I’m sad that they died and I miss them.

I’ve lost many friends and I miss them, but ultimately wish them health and vitality in their journeys. I forgave the people who tormented me when I was young. I feel empowered in knowing that I have the capacity to do that.

The story I want to tell is the one where I rose from the brink of death and extreme alienation to become one of the deepest artists in the world. I believe that I am as devoted to my dream of self-evolution and transcendence as almost anyone alive. I falter, but I don’t give up. I am alive, because I haven’t given up. I will to reach my deepest potential and my decisions reflect profound dignity. I won’t accept an analysis of my behavior that attacks my dignity in the least. My dignity is reflected in unflinching regard for the value in others and in my willingness to take responsibility for my expression and my values and refine them in the face of all challenges.
– Joshua Morriston

Your heart is the light of this world.
Don’t cover it with your mind.
– Mooji

Breathe in me the way to love You,
That I may learn to faultlessly love You.
Pour me the wisdom-wine
By which I become intoxicated with You.
Whisper in my ears of silence
The way to be with You always.
Speak to my wandering senses
And lead them back to Your sanctuary within.
Call the marauding mind and counsel it
How to retrace its steps to Your Home.
With Your silent eyes, just look at me,
And I will know where to find You.
You may hide behind the ocean,
You may hide behind delusion,
You may hide behind life,
You may hide behind dualities,
You may hide behind theological conundrums,
You may hide behind unanswered prayers,
But You cannot hide behind my love,
For in the mirroring light of my love
You are revealed.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

in a jerusalem day you hear prayers all the time. in almost every language and religious confessions. people walk past each other with their minds immersed on many beliefs and their hearts surrendered on him in whom they belief. but i seek the small gestures: like the smiles, the signs of delight at the smells, the little kids weaving dangerously with broken bikes, or the couples hiding behind a narrow alley to look at each other and just touch, thinking no one can see them! these gestures alone are proof of holiness in the heart and in the deeds. perhaps holiness is a word we use to distract our hearts and deeds from the search for the poetry of true encounter. but if you ever feel the night breezes on your skin, perhaps you would see what i see and hear what i hear and allow yourself to just be. to encounter is to be.
– hune margulies

There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colors of the rainbow. And no fear either. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful.
– Aberjhani

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

the words always take the colour of the actions or sacrifices they raise.
– letters to a German friend (1945), Albert Camus

We find true refuge whenever we recognize the silent space of awareness behind all our busy doing and striving. We find refuge whenever our hearts open with tenderness and love. We find refuge whenever we connect with the innate clarity and intelligence of our true nature.
– Tara Brach, “True Refuge”

Prejudice is a form of flight from life’s intense variety and constant change. It’s a decision not to be alive.
– Thomas Moore

… When my own imagination has gone dim, dulled
by the ever-press of daily obligations, it’s especially
important to wander onto the land in a practice of
conversation with the wilder Others. The anima
mundi is nearby, very near, if the doors of perception
wobble and open. Engaging with the world as if
rain and moss, cacti and scorpion, lightning and
cloud witness and participate is a consciousnesschanging
act of imagination. The act itself helps
open the perceptual portal to experience of an
animate world. …
– Geneen Marie Haugen
Wild Speech: Listening Through the Portal of Imagination

Empathy prevents you from being a closed system.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

But if we could only see what philosophy sees, or what it ought to see, or what it would love to see … Imagine the light it would bring. The light would illuminate the ground – like a medieval manuscript – while some principle of reason might stand in the clearing, unveiled, disclosed, and available for the sort of careful reading that it would require.
– Hugh J. Silverman

Still and blue, the evening rolls over in its sleep, / seeking other dreamers, newer days.
– LeighAnna Schesser

And she learned that you couldn’t stockpile anything that mattered, really. Feelings, people, songs, sex, fireworks: they existed only in time, and when it was over, so were they.
– Garth Risk Hallberg, from “City on Fire”

We all suffer from the lingering message of childhood: that the world is big and powerful, and that we are vulnerable and dependent. Stepping forth into larger shoes, more spacious psychologies, remains intimidating throughout our lives.
– James Hollis

Our institutions are too big; they represent not the best but the worst characteristics of human beings. By submitting to huge hierarchies of power, we gain freedom from personal responsibility for what we do and are forced to do – the seduction of it – but we lose the dignity of being real men and women. Power corrupts; attracts the worst and corrupts the best. … Refuse to participate in evil; insist on taking part in what is healthy, generous, and responsible. Stand up, speak out, and when necessary fight back. Get down off the fence and lend a hand, grab a-hold, be a citizen – not a subject.
– Edward Abbey

We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children, between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it. Between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves. Or not.
I know – I speak from experience – that even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion.

As a Jew, I believe in the coming of the Messiah. But of course this does not mean that the world will become Jewish; just that it will become more welcoming, more human. I belong, after all, to a generation that has learned that whatever the question, indifference and resignation are not the answer.

Such is the miracle: A tale about despair becomes a tale against despair.

– Elie Wiesel, Open Heart

We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.
– Elie Wiesel, memory eternal

In the end, having a more interesting life, a life that disturbs complacency, a life that pulls us out of the comfortable and thereby demands a larger spiritual engagement than we planned or that feels comfortable, is what matters most…..to have kept one’s appointment with destiny, to have taken one’s journey through this dark, bitter, luminous, wondrous universe, to have risked being who we really are, is, finally, what matters most.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

I don’t pretend to be able to solve the paradoxes in me.
My favorite expression, the most Jewish of all Jewish expressions is ‘and yet, and yet., It’s bad, and yet; it’s good, and yet.
– Elie Wiesel on mysticism and Hasidism, anger, how the birth of his son changed him, and more

One night Raven and Coyote are sitting in the mountains beside the Hollywood sign overlooking the city.
“Look at all those lights,” says Raven, cocking one eye then the other as he studies the sight. “They just keep spreading. It’s like a wildfire down there.”
Coyote gets real excited by all the twinkling, and he says to Raven:
“Don’t you know what they’re doing? They’re wiring the stars to the ground. They’re trying to make Heaven on Earth!”
(He laughs because he thinks he’s funny and, anyway, it’s night and he likes the heat.)
Raven sighs:
“Well if they’d leave a few of those stars in the sky,
They’d see that it already is.”
– Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California, by Susan Suntree

We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.
– Herman Melville

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor Frankl

When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.
– Elie Wiesel

Between input and reaction there is a gap of pure awareness that we usually don’t’ notice and speed right by. That is why our life feels like a blur.
– David Nichtern

I can speak to my soul only when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads.
– Paulo Coelho, Aleph

A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Bring something incomprehensible into the world!
– Gilles Deleuze

Does exile begin at birth? I lived beside a wide river
For so long I stopped hearing it.
[…]
Always something missing now in the cry of one bird,
Its wings flared against the wood.
– Larry Levis

My love is a tall white cliff above a deep river,
a wind-carried psalm of wheat-colored light.
– LeighAnna Schesser

My silting hope. My lowlands of the mind.
– Seamus Heaney

The apex of summer was a sun-sharp, wind-lifted, glint-edge,
copper sort of day, a short-stop jam-up of light and sky, tall grass
and distant water, unseen but felt, horizon-hazed in mind’s eye.

The kind of afternoon that calls for old book pages;
not for reading, for smelling, for feeling slightly raised
print—for inexplicably desiring the prick and scratch

of skittering down the scattering sides of haystacks. There is
an expectancy here: a waiting tension, a gathering
of adrenaline, the quickening of blood just before muscles act.

But no thunderclaps, ravenous funnels, or eye-melting flames
appear. The quiet and heat and low bone-buzz insect hum
go on. There is only wanting this to last, and the unbearable
lasting, before it passes.

– LeighAnna Schesser

The time has come to realize that supersensible knowledge has now to arise from the materialistic grave.
– Rudolf Steiner

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly
– Rumi

Turning our attention to the moment-by-moment experience of the life of body can accomplish something much greater. It can help free us from an obsessive identification with a small, embattled self. It can be the key to living a much bigger life—a good life in the deepest sense. For real.
– Tracy Cochran

That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day.
– Mark Nepo

We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
-Thomas Merton

We are motivated more by aversion to the unpleasant than by a will toward truth, freedom, or healing. We are constantly attempting to escape our life, to avoid rather than enter our pain, and we wonder why it is so difficult to be fully alive.
– Stephen Levine

The people who are most valuable in a culture aren’t those who avoid all trouble, those who never slip up or fall down. The most valuable people are those who fall down and become deeper and figure out how to grow from their descended place. Many would-be leaders never admit mistakes, but real leadership come from people who did it wrong, made a mess, but then came back. When times get hard, you don’t want leaders who have never taken risks. You want leaders who have survived mistakes and then figured out where the beauty is, where the meaning is, and what real courage is.
– Michael Meade

…In this light we hunger for maturity, see it not as stasis
but a form of love. We want the stillness and confidence
of age, the space between self and all the objects of the world
honoured and defined, the possibility that everything
left alone can ripen of its own accord,
all passionate transformations arranged only
through innocent meetings, one to another,
the way we see resin allowed to seep into the wood
in the wood’s own secret time. We intuit our natures
becoming resonant with one another according
to the grain of the way we are made. Nothing forced
or wanted until it ripens in our own expectant hands.
But for now, in the busy room, we stand in the child’s
first shy witness of one another, and see ourselves again,
gladly and always, falling in love with our future.
– David Whyte

Warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft and gentle.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Every human being needs a contemplative practice, perhaps gazing at nature in wonder, with a camera or paint brush, taking time.
– Thomas Moore

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?
— Terry Tempest Williams

The heart is where we integrate what we know in our minds with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human.
– Alexis de Tocqueville

What good is a Bill of Rights that does not include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom?
– Edward Abbey

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor Frankl

O Heart, pick up your hands
From tears.
With what kind of rain—

Do you wash this wound?

– Parveen Shakir

Poetry springs from something deeper; it’s beyond intelligence.
– Jorge Luis Borges

What good is a Bill of Rights that does not include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom?
– Edward Abbey

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor Frankl

O Heart, pick up your hands
From tears.
With what kind of rain—

Do you wash this wound?

– Parveen Shakir

Poetry springs from something deeper; it’s beyond intelligence.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Words grow, age, die, and I am still interested in that metamorphosis.
– Elie Wiesel

On a mote of celestial dust, we have figured out how to look to the edge of our universe.
– Marilynne Robinson

We all feel unhoused in some sense. That’s part of why we write.
– Andrea Barrett

An idea is the worst thing to start building a poem from.
– Les Murray

Those long conversations you keep
Having with yourself when no one’s
Around….
Are the best prayers you’ll ever pray!
– Eric Cockrell

We have to be educated by the other. My heart cannot be educated by myself.
– Xavier LePichon

There’s only one thing certain. That is one’s own inadequacy. One must start from that.
– Franz Kafka

We have wounded your love.
O God, heal us.
We stumble in the darkness.
Light of the world transfigure us.
We forget that we are your home.
Spirit of God, dwell in us.
– New Zealand Prayer Book

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.
– Gibran

It is when we begin to witness interdependence that we see the true importance of personal responsibility. Once we see that nothing happens in a vacuum, that’s the exact moment when we are properly inspired to become accountable for our own mind.
– Ethan Nichtern


The best thing you could do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire, you are the fire.
– Mama Indigo

The Prison Cell
by Mahmoud Darwish
translated from Arabic by Ben Bennani

It is possible
It is possible at least sometimes…

It is possible especially now

To ride a horse

Inside a prison cell

And run away……
It is possible for prison walls,
To disappear,
For the cell to become a distant land
Without frontiers:
-What did you do with the walls?
-I gave them back to the rocks.
-And what did you do with the ceiling?
-I turned it into a saddle.
-And your chain?
-I turned it into a pencil.
The prison guard got angry.
He put an end to the dialogue.
He said he didn’t care for poetry,
And bolted the door of my cell.
He came back to see me
In the morning;
He shouted at me:
-Where did all this water come from?
-I brought it from the Nile.
-And the trees?
-From the orchards of Damascus.
-And the music?
-From my heartbeat.
The prison guard got mad:
He put an end to my dialogue.
He said he didn’t like my poetry,
And bolted the door to my cell.
But he returned in the evening:
-Where did this moon come from?
-From the nights of Baghdad.
-And the wine?
-From the vineyards of Algiers.
-And this freedom?
-From the chain you tied me with last night.
The prison guard grew so sad….
He begged me to give him back
His freedom.

The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.
– Wallace Stevens

…in the end this writer rightly stands alone. A malcontent, not a leader. No pioneer, but a spoilsport. And if we wish to gain a clear picture of him in the isolation of his trade, what we will see is a ragpicker, at daybreak, picking up rags of speech and verbal scraps with his stick and tossing them, grumbling and growling, a little drunk, into his cart, not without letting one or another of those faded cotton remnants—”humanity,” “inwardness,” or “absorption” —flutter derisively in the wind. A rag-picker, early on, at the dawn of the day of the revolution.
– Walter Benjamin (An Outsider Makes his Mark, 1930)

You will wish to spend extended periods of your time in blessed isolation now. And you will find yourself withdrawing your energies and your presence from virtually everything that once held your attention. Now you feel great indifference toward what is transpiring politically and what is transpiring socially in a world in which you once counted yourself as fully present. From where you now stand, all of it appears irrelevant.

The details of the external world do not interest you now, for your interactions with others are invariably fraught with discord. It is as though you were still a magnet for the irritability and disgruntled reactions of everyone with whom you have even casual contact. And, indeed, that is exactly what you have become. For, as you transcend the allure of mundane concerns, certain residual energies within you continue to magnetize experiences of a corresponding vibration which manifest as adversity. Until these energies can be released fully, you will find that you continue to experience a barrage of inconsequential incidents that are calculated to be irritating.

It is your reaction to this kind of provocation that determines how long you will need to linger at this level. For this stopping place is the ultimate resolution of all the residual vibrational baggage you carry with you. This is the place where your knee-jerk reactions will be tested repeatedly. And, this is the place where ultimately you will master the skills of detachment.

Now you will have the opportunity to watch yourself and to scrutinize how you have managed to accumulate the collection of life experiences that have garnered for you an energy field that has magnetized the same old story all your life. For as these final episodes now play out, you become vividly aware of how you might once have reacted under similar circumstances.

With sublime indifference, you allow the provocation to pass you by, for you have ceased to be invested in having to deliver justice in a given situation. You know that it truly doesn’t matter. And in that active detachment, you release yet another piece of vibrational density. That energy is not needed to support and to verify who you once were. That aspect of you no longer needs validation at the levels toward which you journey.

As you consistently condition yourself in the skills of non-reaction, you begin to experience a rarefied sense of freedom from all that once held you prisoner. For you have been the prisoner of your own need to be validated. You have been the prisoner of the need to prove yourself right–and another wrong. And you’ve spent untold lifetimes building the vibrational framework within which you could continue to experience evidence of it. You have just been liberated from the need to do so.

Suddenly you realize that it doesn’t matter in the least whether or not you are “right” and another “wrong” in any given circumstance. What truly matters is that your inner harmony is retained and that your connectedness with the Source of that inner peace remains undisturbed. Anything–anything–that is working vibrationally to undermine that objective is not important.

Anything that beckons to you with the invitation to engage in conflict is not important. You can choose to engage energetically or you can choose to allow the energy to pass and leave you undisturbed. It is all simply choice. There is no meaning attached to any of it. It is all symbolism.

At this stage of your journey the potential price in addressing certain energy is known to be too high. There is not even the slightest temptation for you. And as you consistently see yourself demonstrate that response, you begin to realize that you have transcended a cornerstone of material existence and that you are experiencing reality at another level.

You recognize that you haven’t *gone* anywhere. You have merely withdrawn your energies from the external comings and going’s of the world that surrounds you. You have taken up residence…within. This is the point of recognition at which you embrace the eternal child who is always asking the big question: “Are we there yet?” Now you no longer need to ask. Or do you?”

– from ONENESS by Rasha

There isn’t a book I would not write the same way today. There isn’t a story I would disown, not a word. My entire life and entire work are behind every line. At the same time, on the edge you see so much. I haven’t even begun to communicate what I have seen.
– Elie Wiesel

There is no end to being born, and I, if allowed to continue to live, would sink again and again, dazzled by wonder and desire.
– Czeslaw Milosz

My heart, which was naturally loving – liquid, as it were – overflowed in all directions; no joy seemed to me exclusively my own.
– André Gide, The Fruits of the Earth

Each person’s qualities of soul, their warmth or coolness, brightness or darkness, heaviness or lightness of soul are the expression of inner soul tones with those qualities. Soul-spiritual communication does not consist of meanings represented in words, but of resonant tonal qualities of soul communicated through the word (dia-logos) and conveyed by its silent undertones. This is a type of communication that can only be understood in the same way we understand music – through inner resonance. But ours is a visual and verbal culture in which communication, even in the special settings of counselling and psychotherapy, lacks the musical dimension of soul and spirit. This is why people need the healing power of music more than medicine or counselling – for through music they can re-enter the womb of their own resonant soul and listen to its language.
– Peter Wilberg, Head, Heart and Hara

There’s a lot of things wrong with this country, but one of the few things still right with it is that a man can steer clear of the organized bullshit if he really wants to. It’s a goddamned luxury, and if I were you, I’d take advantage of it while you can.
– Hunter S. Thompson

People who take the time to be alone usually have depth, originality, and quiet reserve.
– John Miller

The point of gathering stillness is not to enrich the sanctuary or the mountaintop, but to bring that reality into the motion, the commotion, of the world.
– Pico Iyer

It is pointless trying to know where the way leads. Think only about your first step. The rest will come…
– Shams Tabrizi

As a wise woman said, if we can free our love of greed, our broken sweet heart may become a force for service, rather than selfishness.

The forest is peaceful, why aren’t you? You hold on to things causing your confusion. Let nature teach you. Hear the bird’s song then let go. If you know nature, you’ll know Dhamma. If you know Dhamma, you’ll know nature.
– Ajahn Chah

That moment you realize volunteering your time and energy is a lot more fun than sitting around binge watching YouTube.
This is that moment.
– Genelle Chaconas

I am poems of fibrous connectivity.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

Live to give
everything away
So nothing
keeps us apart
Love brings you here;
Light-atom pulsing
Always,
at the Sun’s heart.
– Rumi

I am the pure awareness within your heart,
with you during joy and celebration,
suffering and despair.
– Rumi

When all the false self-identifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

A BRIEF FOR THE DEFENSE, by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

For it was
you, who first
brought my voice out of the darkness

and made of it a moon

increscent in the firefly’s dream time ~

you, who brought echoes of roses

thrown like wildfire

into that unstilled water so close

to where you love – so close

that I remember not

its name. Yet you, indeed

remember well the bridge

you built between us – how many

falling angels have you caught

in that net of poems constellated,

before even all the stars

in their right places

were born ~ curled in a bud yet

unfolding, I bow to your radiance

uplifted.

– Peter Shefler

I BOW TO THE LARK

I bow to the lark
and its tiny
lifted silhouette
fluttering
before infinity.

I promise myself
to the mountain
and to the foundation
from which
my future comes.

I make my vow
to the stream
flowing beneath,
and to the water
falling
toward all thirst,

and
I pledge myself
to the sea
to which it goes
and to the mercy
of my disappearance,

and though
I may be
left alone
or abandoned by
the unyielding present
or orphaned
in some far
unspoken place,

I will speak
with a voice
of loyalty
and faith
to the far shore
where everything
turns to arrival,
if only in the sound
of falling waves

and I will listen
with sincere
and attentive
eyes and ears
for a final invitation,
so that I can
be that note half-heard
in the flying lark song,
or that tint
on a far mountain
brushed with the subtle
grey of dawn

even a river gone by
still looking
as if it hasn’t…

– David Whyte

Guide me
beyond the labyrinths that hide me.
Sometimes I’m frightened
like a child left in a crowd.
I feel like a child left in a crowd –
trying to find your face;
I must have looked everyplace,
but inside me.

Wake me.
If you need to you can shake me –
whatever it takes to see,
to find you everywhere I am.
Teach me to touch the ground.
Wear my resistance down.
Remake me.

Woo me.
Like a lover would, pursue me.
Renew me
again and again and again.
Tune me, then hold me near.
Play something sweet and clear.
Come through me.

– Kirtana

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”
– Anna Quindlen

In mourning it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia it is the ego itself.
– Sigmund Freud

The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.
– Jack Kerouac

Listen, and you will realize that we are made not from cells or from atoms. We are made from stories.
– Mia Couto

We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them.
– Elie Wiesel

So vast is art, so narrow human wit.
– Alexander Pope

O, let America be America again— / The land that never has been yet— / And yet must be.
– Langston Hughes

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues,
and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand,
work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.
What I’m saying here is not, I agree, poetry,
as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly,
under unbearable duress and only with the hope
that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.
– Czesław Miłosz

The psyche is not a buried mass but the narratives, memories, and deeply felt emotions that shine through in a rainbow of hues..
– Thomas Moore

I have often noticed that it is the coincidence of simple events which marks the turning points in life. I have come to view these not as coincidence at all, but rather as significant ‘co-incidents’
– John Lundin

The reason that I write is because I can’t speak and cry at the same time.
– Tom Spanbauer

Without community, there is no liberation.
– Audre Lorde

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

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
– WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Freedom is most desirable. Of course none of us are free. Our flaws enslave us, the things we love. And through technology we’re becoming more known to everyone but ourselves. What’s that phrase about certain writers being what the culture needs? Most writers just write about what the culture recognizes.
– Joy Williams

Every cause is the effect of something else, and every effect is the cause of something else. What may seem like a curse may be a blessing, and what may seem a blessing may be a curse. Hardship is a blessing when it spurs effort and development; ease is a curse when it increases complacency and self-indulgence.
– Muso Kokushi

If you’re kin to the birch,
you’ll last a long time.
– OLAV HAUGE

In the beginning, my poems resembled the gardens we learned to draw in gardening school. Straight paths, straight flowerbeds, square lawns, well-pruned trees and bushes. Slate and gravel. Now, however, I let nature and function form my garden. I keep the paths I walk open. Clover and plantain grow in the yard, wildflowers and grass grow by the walls. A large patch of white yarrow has found a place by the steps; now they’re flowering beautifully. That’s how poems should be.
– OLAV HAUGE

If you write for others, your writings all too easily become ordinary.
– OLAV HAUGE

I am feeling emptier than I have for a long time. Neither a thought nor a poem occurs to me. Abandoned.
– OLAV HAUGE

It’s best when you can live anonymously and unnoticed. Then you’re left in peace and can do what you wish, perhaps even making poems and enjoying it.
– OLAV HAUGE

It’s unusual for me to have someone to exchange ideas with, someone I can trust and who has the heart to embrace them, to understand. Certainly I have known people, written letters, spoken with people. But was there anyone with whom I could truly trust? No, not until now.
– OLAV HAUGE

To only listen to your own voice, your own demands, your own feelings, that’s daring for a poet. He may be considered an eccentric, a hermit.
– OLAV HAUGE

It is the dream we carry
that something wonderful will happen,
that it must happen –
that time will open,
that our hearts may open,
that doors shall open,
and the mountain shall open
that springs will gush forth –
that our dream will open,
and that one morning we’ll glide
into a cove we didn’t know.
– OLAV HAUGE

West of Levy

Not cloud
but mountain.

Not worry
but wisdom.

The sun scratches
afternoon

off the sky,
and now it’s

evening.
– OLAV HAUGE

A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist…must let us know that there is nothing stable under heaven.
– James Baldwin

Poetry became a private place where I could let my daydreams—and my pain—come in completely disguised.
– James Tate

There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.
– Shunryu Suzuki

…Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fallout. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.
– Cheryl Strayed

Gmorning.
You can fume at the world if you like.
You can also use your words, art & gifts to let us in.
Build us a bridge to where you are.
– Lin-Manuel Miranda

You have to take breaks, reenergize, and remind yourself what you are working to achieve.
– Kat Long

I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.
– Ani DiFranco

The most difficult thing for people to do is hear their own soul.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Music definitely forms the basis for my unshakeable belief in the goodness of humankind.

There is a spirit in all music, the spirit has the ability to conjure up thoughts even pictures of something that happened or you wished would happen or you anticipate happening. Music has the ability to create ideas in you and me. It has the ability to encourage us to be creative.
– Maya Angelou

POISE OF A DYING MAN: The Teachings of Empty Cloud

Beyond meditation practice, there is attitude. A beginner must learn to cultivate what is called, “the poise of a dying man”. What is this poise? It is the poise of knowing what is important and what is not, and of being accepting and forgiving. Anyone who has ever been at the bedside of a dying man will understand this poise. What would the dying man do if someone were to insult him? Nothing. What would the dying man do if someone were to strike him? Nothing. As he lay there, would he scheme to become famous or wealthy? No. If someone who had once offended him were to ask him for his forgiveness would he not give it? Of course he would. A dying man knows the pointlessness of enmity. Hatred is always such a wretched feeling. Who wishes to die feeling hatred in his heart? No one. The dying seek love and peace.

– EMPTY CLOUD – The Autobiography of the Chinese Zen Master – XU YUN

Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies meet each other.
– Paul Coelho

It’s the feeling that we are racing too fast; technologically, scientifically, we’re going too fast, and in ethics and in philosophy we remain behind. Technology is never really pure, it’s always at the expense of something. Maybe that is what the young people are afraid of: they see themselves running, thrusting into the future at a tremendous pace, and they look for support in the past, which is there, and the past after all is synonymous with survival: we survived the past. But can we survive the future?
– Elie Wiesel

…Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal–then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
— but we have changed, a little.
– Denise Levertov

One People
by Monika John

Pilgrims always meet again,
oceans and mountains
mere trifles in their journey.

They are drawn together
by the finer stuff
that makes toy puzzles
out of continents.

Driven by an inner calling
they circle the globe
weaving common threads
of one people, one planet.

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
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.
– Warsan Shire, “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”

I am not really impressed by someone who can turn the floor into the ceiling or fire into water. A real miracle is if someone can liberate just one negative emotion.
– Lerab Lingpa

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.
– Audrey Hepburn

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’
– Maya Angelou

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
– William Wordsworth

…Let’s,
As Wordsworth said, remove
“The dust of custom” so things
Shine again, each object arrayed
In its robe of original light.
And then we’ll see the world
As if for the first time.
As once we gazed at the beloved
Who was gazing at us.
– Gregory Orr

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
– Adrienne Rich

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all
– Yogi Bhajan

If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.
– Mahatma Gandhi

You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.
You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.
You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions.
You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.
– Frida Kahlo

… I can’t quite shake the astonishment. I can’t quite believe what my life keeps teaching me, that material existence is a thin veil thrown over a foundation of miracles so numerous and profound we almost invariably overlook them.
– Martha Beck

As soon as we start looking through the outer and visible to the inner and invisible and trying to see how form and meaning relate, most of the old body/soul dichotomy vanishes. The soul then becomes the body’s meaning, and the body the expression of the soul.
– Karlfried Durckheim

For a naturalist, traveling into unfamiliar territory is like turning a kaleidoscope ninety degrees. Suddenly, the colors and pieces of glass find a fresh arrangement. The light shifts, and you enter a new landscape in search of the order you know to be there.
– Terry Tempest Williams

There was something fleeting and melancholy in the brief moment of dusk, perceptible not only to one man but also to a whole people. As for me, I longed to love as people long to cry. I felt that every hour I slept now would be an hour stolen from life … that is to say from those hours of undefined desire. I was tense and motionless, as I had been during those vibrant hours at the cabaret in Palma and at the cloister in San Francisco, powerless against this immense desire to hold the world between my hands. I know that I am wrong, that we cannot give ourselves completely. Otherwise, we could not create. But there are no limits to loving, and what does it matter to me if I hold things badly if I can embrace everything?
– Albert Camus

Every privileged prince must “kill” the privileged prince to find the enlightened warrior and sage.
– Wandering Cloud

Death ends a life, not a relationship.
– Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

Wage Peace

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music,
learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit,
and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if the armistice has already arrived.
Don’t wait another minute.

– Judyth Hill

Once the soul begins progressing in love, the ego becomes aware of the pending annihilation of its control over the individual. There is nowhere to rest. This is reminiscent of the Goddess Khali, with skulls hanging at her belt. The skulls are the slain carcasses of the ego. No one can come to her and remain intact. Blindness is lifted and the ego is revealed for what it is. The person is no longer able to do the same old things. Then, a sensation arises as if the world has taken off its mask for the first time and you can see it all, right in front of you. And you remain without illusion or pretense, in awe and tremendous humility. Suddenly, the images and the names and the words are not just symbols. They are relationships that reveal what they previously concealed.
– Rosamonde Ikshvàku Miller

One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.
– Malala Yousafzai

Forgiveness is the final form of love.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
– Samuel Johnson

So open your eyes to the future, when it all comes new once again and dedicate your days to the changing of your ways and remember tomorrow now and again and dedicate your nights to the raising of your sights and remember tomorrow now and again……

There is no other way of attaining basic sanity than the practice of meditation. Absolutely none. The evidence for that is that for two thousand five hundred years since the time of the Buddha, down through the lineage of enlightened teachers from generation to generation, people have gained liberation through the practice of meditation. This is not a myth. It’s reality. It actually did exist, it does exist; it did work, it did happen, it does work, it does happen. But without the practice of meditation, there is no way.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Imagine a temple inside your mind, a haven from the chaos of the world. Visit often.
– Marianne Williamson

The famous painter met his death, because he couldn’t draw his breath.
– Nithya Shanti

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.
– Wendell Berry

Each word, as someone once wrote, contains the universe.
The visible carries all the invisible on its back.
Tonight, in the unconditional, what moves in the long-limbed grasses,
what touches me
As though I didn’t exist?
What is it that keeps on moving,
a tiny pillar of smoke
Erect on its hind legs,
loose in the hollow grasses?
A word I don’t know yet, a little word, containing infinity,
Noiseless and unrepentant, in sift through the dry grass.
– Charles Wright

Hide in the hollow trunk
of the willow tree,
its listening familiar,
until, as usual, they
cuckoo your name
across the fields.
You can hear them
draw the poles of stiles
as they approach
calling you out:
small mouth and ear
in a woody cleft,
lobe and larynx
of the mossy places.
– Seamus Heaney, Oracle

Learning the craft is learning to turn the windlass at the well of poetry. Usually you begin by dropping the bucket halfway down the shaft and winding up a taking of air. You are miming the real thing until one day the chain draws unexpectedly tight and you have dipped into waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.
– Seamus Heaney

Ash-Wednesday
by T S Eliot
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

II

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

III

At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jagged, like an old man’s mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs’s fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.

IV

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary’s colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary’s colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

V

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

VI

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

hum

hiding in this cage
of visible matter

is the invisible
lifebird

pay attention
to her

she is singing
your song

– Kabir

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.
– Søren Kierkegaard

The conversation is the work.
– David Whyte

All summer the mockingbird in his pearl-gray coat and his white-windowed wings flies from the hedge to the top of the pine and begins to sing, but it’s neither lilting nor lovely, for he is the thief of other sounds – whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges plus all the songs of other birds in his neighborhood; mimicking and elaborating, he sings with humor and bravado, so I have to wait a long time for the softer voice of his own life to come through. He begins by giving up all his usual flutter and settling down on the pine’s forelock then looking around as though to make sure he’s alone; then he slaps each wing against his breast, where his heart is, and, copying nothing, begins easing into it as though it was not half so easy as rollicking, as though his subject now was his true self, which of course was as dark and secret as anyone else’s, and it was too hard – perhaps you understand – to speak or to sing it to anything or anyone but the sky.
– Mary Oliver

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…love…and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself.
– George Orwell

Beautiful essay on kindness to self and others as a good and necessary part of the revolution: “The broader left could learn a great deal from the queer community, which has long taken the attitude that caring for oneself and one’s friends in a world of prejudice is not an optional part of the struggle—in many ways, it is the struggle. Writer and trans icon Kate Bornstein’s rule number one is “Do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Just don’t be mean.” It’s more than likely that one of the reasons that the trans and queer communities continue to make such gains in culture, despite a violent backlash, is the broad recognition that self-care, mutual aid, and gentle support can be tools of resistance, too. The ideology of wellbeing may be exploitative, and the tendency of the left to fetishize despair is understandable, but it is not acceptable—and if we waste energy hating ourselves, nothing’s ever going to change. If hope is too hard to manage, the least we can do is take basic care of ourselves. On my greyest days, I remind myself of the words of the poet and activist Audre Lorde, who knew a thing or two about survival in an inhuman world, and wrote that self care “is not self-indulgence—it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Take care of yourselves, everyone. Sending tea and cookies and hope for victory.
– Rebecca Solnit

every word is a universe ~ travel tenderly.
– Ani Kaspar

To be truly serious you have to play. That’s on the side of poetry, and of meditation, too. In fact, play is essential to everything we do— and poetry is nothing special. Language is no big deal. Mind is no big deal. Meaning or no-meaning, it’s perfectly okay. We take what’s given us, with gratitude.
– Gary Snyder

If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…
maybe we could understand something.
– Federico Fellini

Yes, in my life, since we must call it so, there were three things, the inability to speak, the inability to be silent, and solitude, that’s what I’ve had to make the best of.
– Samuel Beckett

Listen closely… the eternal hush of silence goes on and on throughout all this, and has been going on, and will go on and on. This is because the world is nothing but a dream and is just thought of and the everlasting eternity pays no attention to it.
– Jack Kerouac

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars.
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

We sit and talk,
quietly, with long lapses of silence
and I am aware of the stream
that has no language, coursing
beneath the quiet heaven of
your eyes
which has no speech
– William Carlos Williams

I said nothing for a time, just ran my fingertips along the edge of the human-shaped emptiness that had been left inside me.
– Haruki Murakami

Keep your mind in peace, then you will have less problems. Life is short, so keep your mind peaceful and make your life meaningful, then people around you will also have more peace.
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Trying to find out who you are is a painful process. Why would you want to be just one thing?
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

While the self which we are befriending does not exist,
Nonetheless, in the meantime, we should befriend it.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf, singing from every river, shimmering from every sky.
– Dejan Stojanovic

After a tough day, I don’t need a therapist, I just want an astrophysicist to talk to.
– Zoe Keating

Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration — how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory…? Never to get lost is not to live.
– Rebecca Solnit

What makes for a livable world is no idle question. It is not merely a question for philosophers. It is posed in various idioms all the time by people in various walks of life. If that makes them all philosophers, then that is a conclusion I am happy to embrace.
– Judith Butler

Poetry led me by the hand out of madness.
– Anne Sexton

I don’t create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me.
– Edith Södergran

I wouldn’t recognize myself without being able to read and reread poetry.
– Edward Hirsch

Fold words into cranes. Knit sound into sequence
and hold its shadow up against tomorrow’s blank slate sky.

Watch how the dark flutter of notes makes meaning
seem bigger than it really is.
Watch how time washes silence clean.
– Lori Lamothe

So when I look out at the world and am humbled
by all the ways the trees and rivers
pass our understanding, I can maybe take a bit of solace
in the fact that we do a pretty good job passing our understanding
as well.
– John Gallaher

I need solitude. I need space. I need air. I need the empty fields round me; and my legs pounding along roads; and sleep; and animal existence.
– Virginia Woolf

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Silence is the ambrosial night in the intercourse of Friends, in which their sincerity is recruited and takes deeper root.
– Henry David Thoreau

I do with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them. I cannot afford to speak much with my friend. If he is great, he makes me so great that I cannot descend [often] to converse.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have two doctors: my left leg and my right.
– G.M. Trevelyan

Creative listeners are those who want you to be recklessly yourself, even at your very worst, even vituperative, bad-tempered. They are laughing and just delighted with any manifestation of yourself, bad or good. For true listeners know that if you are bad-tempered it does not mean that you are always so. They don’t love you just when you are nice; they love all of you.”
– Brenda Ueland

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
– Kurt Vonnegut

Oh, there is no advice to give to young poets! They ought to make their own way; they will have to encounter the obstacles to their expression and they have to overcome them. What I would never advise them to do is to begin with political poetry. Political poetry is more profoundly emotional than any other—at least as much as love poetry—and cannot be forced because it then becomes vulgar and unacceptable. It is necessary first to pass through all other poetry in order to become a political poet. The political poet must also be prepared to accept the censure which is thrown at him—betraying poetry, or betraying literature. Then, too, political poetry has to arm itself with such content and substance and intellectual and emotional richness that it is able to scorn everything else. This is rarely achieved.
– Pablo Neruda

I don’t create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me.
– Edith Södergran

I’m the crazy one who thinks that words reach people.
– Anne Sexton

I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving;
then I am in love again and very young and I believe everything.
– Anne Sexton

I wanted to write the most beautiful poem but that is impossible; the world has written its own.
– Dejan Stojanovic

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

..Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
– Mary Oliver

We should be teaching our students that they need to have their peace disturbed, that there is a difference between individualism that encourages self-confidence and independence, and narcissism, in which everything and everyone becomes a reflection of ourselves, preventing us from growing, and that so long as they are afraid of trauma, they will remain its victim: their oppressor will once again win.
– Azar Nafisi

I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now–only that place where the books are kept.
– John Steinbeck

I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.
– William Shakespeare

…he walks those woods alone/and there he builds his own cathedrals/and in every whirring wing/he can hear the whole world sing.
– Karine Polwart

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.
– Walt Whitman

Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

…How many tears ran dry
before you lent a hand?
Jointly responsible
for the happiness of millennia,
don’t you slight
the single minute
of a tear, a wince?
Do you never overlook
another’s effort?
A glass stood on the table,
no one noticed
until it fell,
toppled by a thoughtless gesture.

Are people really so simple
as far as people go?

– Wislawa Szymborska

In wilderness extremity, people find themselves running out of language, driven to silence. Ordinary speech seems inappropriate. Mountain and desert people do not talk much. Their words are measured by the leanness of the land. In short, the liminality of desert and mountain terrain redefines every boundary giving shape to one’s life.
– Belden C. Lane

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
– Lao Tzu

Irish saints say that birds are angels, so maybe we should watch them closely with the eye of a spiritual poet.
– Thomas Moore

The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.
– Albert Einstein

Poetry
pardon me for having helped you to understand
that you are not made of words alone.
– Roque Dalton

…Enter each day
as upon a stage
lighted and waiting
for your step
Crave upward as flame
have keenness in the nostril
Give your eyes
to agony or rapture

Train your hands
as birds to be
brooding or nimble
Move your body
as the horses
sweeping on slender hooves
over crag and prairie
with fleeing manes
and aloofness of their limbs

Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place.
– May Swenson

If people could see that change comes about as a result of millions of tiny acts that seem totally insignificant, well then they wouldn’t hesitate to take those tiny acts.
– Howard Zinn

In an age of speed, … nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still …

Going nowhere, as Leonard Cohen would later emphasize for me, isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.
– Pico Iyer

The Old Man Born of Dreams
You must not be afraid to travel
where there are no roads.
You must not give in to the darkness
when there is no sign of light.
You must not be afraid to grow wings
when you are tired of the ground.
You must not be afraid to swim
when you are nothing but a stone.
If experience is the child born of risk, then
acceptance is the old man born of dreams.
– Nancy Wood

I mused that time is not only a river, but a river that constantly breaks its banks so you must flee from it as it covers everything behind your back, flee into the future, empty-handed, dispossessed, as the river obliterates your footsteps with each stride you take, each time you pass from one moment to the next.
– Jens Christian Grøndahl

Coddling our own individual neuroses needs to become a thing of the past. It’s time for all of us to awaken to a collective call to greatness.
– Marianne Williamson

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.
– Chuck Palahniuk

The inner journey is said to be of three stages:

1) Sravana: Hearing the teachings

2) Manana: Reflecting upon them

3) Nididhyasana: Absorption beyond thought

These are also known as Shrutmayi Pragnya (heard wisdom), Chintanmayi Pragnya (reasoned wisdom) and Bhavanamayi Pragnya (experiential wisdom).

While listening and reflecting are beneficial, it is only nididhyasana that actually eradicates the vasanas (latent tendencies of mind that lead to suffering).

Once, when asked which of the asanas is best, Ramana Maharishi is said to have replied, “Nididhyasana is the best.”

Strengthen your capacity to rest in the silence beyond thought by taking short vacations of witnessing life just as it is, instead of thinking about it. I call this “stepping off the train of thoughts”.
– Nithya Shanti

When dealing with challenges, difficulties and setbacks, don’t rely on thoughts, rely on awareness. Awareness creates clarity. Then the right thoughts, words and actions naturally follow and resolve even the most tricky and complicated situations.
– Nithya Shanti

The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.

If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.

– Albert Einstein

The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the
most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself
to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to
too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything
is to succumb to violence….

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace.
It destroys his own inner capacity for peace.
It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the
root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

– Thomas Merton

No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.
– Jack Kerouac

If anyone asks you to say who you are,
say without hesitation, soul
within soul within soul.

There’s a pearl diver who does not know
how to swim! No matter.
Pearls are handed him on the beach.

We lovers laugh to hear, “This should be
more that and that more this,”
coming from people sitting in a wagon
tilted in a ditch.

Going in search of the heart, I found
a huge rose, and roses under all our feet!

How to say this to someone who denies it?
The robe we wear is the sky’s cloth.

Everything is soul and flowering.

– Rumi, Coleman Barks translation

there’s no
figuring out how
to live life
.
there is only
the living of life
.
those who
figure out how
end up learning
to forget all hows
in order to live again

.
– Benjamin Dean

love never exists
as a fact
.
it is a verb
and you can do
all things
with or without it
.
it is nature
in action
being true
to itself
without even
a thought
.
– Benjamin Dean

Though I was reluctant to be born, I was attracted by the music. I had plans. I was entrusted with carrying voices, songs, and stories to grow and release into the world, to be of assistance and inspiration. These were my responsibility. I am not special. It is this way for everyone.
– Joy Harjo: Crazy Brave

The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.
– W.H. Auclen

Speak, for your lips are free.
Speak, it is still your own tongue.
Speak, it is your own body.
Speak, your life is still yours.
See how in the blacksmith’s shop
The flame burns wild, the iron glows red;
The locks open their jaws,
And every chain begins to break.

Speak, this brief hour is plenty
Before the death of body and tongue:
Speak, ’cause the truth is alive as yet,
Speak, whatever you must say. Say it.
– Faiz

The Avant-garde is always co-opted by the establishment.
– Mary Jo Bang

To the unknown
Or the known:
Both of them a single, blue speck of an idea?
– Yukio Mishima

The beginning of wisdom is in getting things
by their right name.
– Chinese proverb

I’ll never find out now
What A. thought of me.
If B. ever forgave me in the end.
Why C. pretended everything was fine.
What part D. played in E.’s silence.
What F. had been expecting, if anything.
Why G. forgot when she knew perfectly well.
What H. had to hide.
What I. wanted to add.
If my being around
meant anything
to J. and K. and the rest of the alphabet.

– Wisława Szymborska

The impatient man is his own enemy; he slams the door on his own progress.
– Idries Shah

For what is prophecy but the first inkling
of what we ourselves must call into being?
– Dana Gioia

On Living
by
Nazim Hikmet

I

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example–
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory
in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people–
even for people whose faces you’ve never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you’ll plant olive trees–
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.

II

Let’s say you’re seriously ill, need surgery–
which is to say we might not get
from the white table.
Even though it’s impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we’ll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we’ll look out the window to see it’s raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest newscast …
Let’s say we’re at the front–
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
we might fall on our face, dead.
We’ll know this with a curious anger,
but we’ll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.
Let’s say we’re in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
before the iron doors will open.
We’ll still live with the outside,
with its people and animals, struggle and wind–
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die.

III

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet–
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …
You must grieve for this right now
–you have to feel this sorrow now–
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say “I lived” …

There is a great difference between defending life and befriending it. Defending life is often about holding on to whatever you have at all cost. Befriending life may be about strengthening and supporting life’s movement toward its own wholeness. It may require us to take great risks, to let go, over and over again, until we finally surrender to life’s own dream of itself.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

I know what the cure is: It is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.
– Henry Miller

The human mind is not some otherworldly essence that comes to house itself inside our physiology. Rather it is instilled and provoked by the sensorial field itself, induced by the tensions and participations between the human body and the animate earth. The invisible shapes of smells, rhythms of cricketsong, and the movement of shadows all, in a sense, provide the subtle body of our thoughts. Our own reflections, we might say, are a part of the play of light and its reflections.

By acknowledging such links between the inner, psychological world and the perceptual terrain that surrounds us, we begin to turn inside-out, loosening the psyche from its confinement within a strictly human sphere, freeing sentience to return to the sensible world that contains us. Intelligence is no longer ours alone but is a property of the earth; we are in it, of it, immersed in its depths. And indeed each terrain, each bioregion, seems to have its own particular intelligence, its unique vernacular of soil and leaf and sky.

Each place its own mind, its own psyche! Oak, Madrone, Douglas fir, red-tailed hawk, serpentine in the sandstone, a certain scale to the topography, drenching rains in the winters, fog off-shore in the summers, salmon surging up the streams – all these together make up a particular state of mind, a place-specific intelligence shared by all the humans that dwell therein, but also by the coyotes yapping in those valleys, by the bobcats and the ferns and the spiders, by all beings who live and make their way in that zone. Each place its own psyche. Each sky its own blue.

– David Abram

Usus libri, non lectio prudentes facit.
Translation: Using a book, not reading it, makes us wise.
– Geoffrey Whitney

First reade, then marke, then practise that is good,
For without vse, we drink but LETHE flood.
– Geoffrey Whitney

A lesson learned, a loving God, and things in their own time: In nothing more do I trust.
– Indigo Girls

Mine is not an obedient writing. I think that literature as any art has to be irreverent.
– Reinaldo Arenas

Mimi & Richard Farina – Children of Darkness

Now is the time for your loving, dear
And the time for your company
Now when the light of reason fails
And fires burn on the sea
Now in this age of confusion
I have need for your company

For I am a wild and a lonely child
And the son of an angry man
And now with the high wars raging
I would offer you my hand
For we are the children of darkness
And the prey of a foul command

It’s once I was free to go roaming in
The wind of the springtime mind
And once the clouds I sailed upon
Were sweet as lilac wine
Then why have the breezes of summer, dear

Enlaced with a grim design?

And where was the will of my father
When he raised his sword on high?
And where was my mother’s wailing
When our flags were justified?
And where will we take our pleasures
When our bodies have been denied?

So now is the time for your loving, dear
And the time for your company
Now when the light of reason fails
And fires burn on the sea
Now in this age of confusion
I have need for your company

First snowfall, early this morning. Ochre and green
Take refuge under the trees.

The second batch, toward noon. No color’s left
But the needles shed by pines,
Falling even thicker than the snow.

Then, toward evening,
Light’s scale comes to rest.
Shadows and dreams weigh the same.

With a toe, a puff of wind
Writes a word outside the world.
– Yves Bonnefoy

The books: he tore them all apart.
The devastated page. Yet the light
On the page, the increase of light. He knew
He was becoming the blank page again.

He went out. Torn, the visage of the world
Took on another beauty, seemed more human now.
In shadow play, the sky’s hand reached for his.
The stone where you see his weathered name
Was opening, forming a word.
– Yves Bonnefoy

There are days, my dear, when it strikes me, I am indeed real. I leave you sleeping, I go out, day is breaking, the grass is cold. I take our old road and you are that child who runs ahead of me. Who turns back sometimes, laughing, laughing.
– Yves Bonnefoy

It’s true I don’t exist and you don’t exist. We go off; in some places the road is so narrow I have to squeeze up close to you. Who will go first, in all this light? We are laughing, it is nightfall.
– Yves Bonnefoy

O, ah! The awareness of emptiness
brings forth a heart of compassion.
– Gary Snyder

Sometimes a tree tells you more than can be read in books.
– C.G. Jung

it does not pay to cherish symbols
when the substance lies so close at hand
waiting to be held.
– Audre Lorde

And what then do we see, once we open our own animal eye?
– James Hillman

If we could only let love alone. If we could only give it more space and less attention, it would take care of itself.
– James Hillman

One should do nothing other than what is directly or indirectly of benefit to living beings. — Shantideva

Love is not at the end of time.
Either it is now, or it isn’t.
And hell is when it is not…
– J. Krishnamurti

‘different as we are / we share/ paths in common’
– Alec Finlay

We all say the world is getting worse and worse – and on the one hand that is true – but many people are also talking about peace and working together across political lines and country borders. Many people in today’s world are valuing and cultivating self-reflection and meditation, even in the army, even in big corporations. So I often reflect, yes, it can look really bad at times, but I also see other things happening too….
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Writing poetry is an unnatural act. It takes great skill to make it seem natural.
– Elizabeth Bishop

No religious scientific or academic faithful can be trusted unless it can laugh at itself.
– Stephen Schettini

So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don’t know what work they are accomplishing within you?
– Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Heading South

Spring returns to Peach Blossom River
and my sail is a cloud through maple forests.

Exiled, I lived for years in secret, moving on farther from home
with tear-stains on my sleeves.

Now old and sick, at last I’m headed south.
Remembering old friends, I look back north a final time.

A hundred years I sang my bitter song,
but not a soul remembers those old rhymes.

We must go beyond the arrogance of human rights. We must go beyond the ignorance of civil rights. We must step into the reality of natural rights because all of the natural world has a right to existence and we are only a small part of it. There can be no trade-off.
-John Trudell

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
– Vita Sackville-West

Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”…That is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include spaces within us as well as the outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended…Poets, if they’re genuine, must always keep repeating “I don’t know.”
– Wisława Szymborska

Act so that there is no use in a center. A wide action is not a width. A preparation is given to the ones preparing. They do not eat who mention silver and sweet.
– Gertrude Stein

Spirituality and activism aren’t either/or: they’re both/and. Either without the other lacks the power to effect fundamental change.
– Marianne Williamson

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
– Douglas H. Everett

We need quantitative change in our circumstances, and qualitative change in our souls.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.
– Oscar Wilde

Wherever you go, you meet part of your story.
– Eudora Welty

The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.
– W.H. Auclen

To open our eyes, to see with our inner fire and light, is what saves us. Even if it makes us vulnerable. Opening the eyes is the job of storytellers, witnesses, and the keepers of accounts. The stories we know and tell are reservoirs of light and fire that brighten and illuminate the darkness of human night, the unseen.
– Linda Hogan

God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.
– Meister Eckhart

Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of
haste. It’s what everything else isn’t.
– Theodore Roethke

Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.
– Marcus Aurelius

Without discipline, “sila” in Sanskrit, we may have the best plan, we may have the best intention, the best teachers, but if we personally do not apply our own exertion and discipline and work with our own habits in a precise way, the alchemy will not happen. It is a very important ingredient to our practice.
– David Nichtern

Chogyam Trungpa ~ If you want to stop war, you have to stop your pain, your version of that war. You have to relate with your own antagonism, your own innate war between you and your projections. We look at national or international things so much in terms of our own projections that we lose track of the actual political situation

We have no choice but to extremely humble in the face of the nature of things.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Honour is a word not used much these days. I think it’s loss- both in the understanding of what it is and having it towards oneself and others and also not learning or caring to learn what it is that makes another feel honoured is a big cause of further unrest in the world. To honour oneself and each other is to learn and practice a language and orient to a landscape and it’s special requirements with care and true listening and to heed it’s call even when it might not be loud.
– Belle Heywood

Examine yourself for any anti-pleasure “molecules” in your psyche. You may need a more human and accepting moral philosophy.
– Thomas Moore

When your heart speaks, take good notes.
– Joseph Campbell

The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz
By ALICIA OSTRIKER

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves

The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand,
Sometimes they’ll plunge straight into
The foaming breakers

Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence
Toss them, until they snap and sink

Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.

All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design, on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable.
– William S. Burroughs

I want to focus 100% on things that feel good,
things that connect me to my joy, things that are fun to do.
I have spent my life doing all those obligatory things~
Now I want to express my own aliveness in every possible way~
Fiddling while Rome burns?
Better than fretting I think
– Ari Annona

There is, in sanest hours, a consciousness, a thought that rises, independent, lifted out from all else, calm, like the stars, shining eternal. This is the thought of identity – yours for you, whoever you are, as mine for me. Miracle of miracles, beyond statement, most spiritual and vaguest of earth’s dreams, yet hardest basic fact, and only entrance to all facts. In such devout hours, in the midst of the significant wonders of heaven and earth, (significant only because of the Me in the centre) creeds, conventions, fall away and become of no account before this simple idea. Under the luminousness of real vision, it alone takes possession, takes value. Like the shadowy dwarf in the fable, once liberated and look’d upon, it expands over the whole earth, and spreads to the roof of heaven.
– Walt Whitman

The Friend breathes into one
who has no breath.
A deep silence revives the listening
and the speaking of those two

who meet on the riverbank.
– Rumi

Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about.
– Rumi

Out of every earth day
make a little bit of heaven.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Heart at Peace (心 和) represents a mind at peace with other minds and the world. This idea is connected with traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony and ikebana. The goal is to be in natural balance and harmony with one’s surroundings.
– Tao and Zen

As we are slow to evolve into a human community, we can keep our optimism by remembering the deep ocean and the vast sky.
– Thomas Moore

Television created mass isolation. Social media has us talking across our backyard fences, chatting around the water cooler, coming together in the town square.
Social media has us talking. Sometimes quietly offering words of comfort, reassurance or inspiration, sometimes shouting our anger and fears. But instead of sitting passively hypnotized, we are each finding our voice…and we are finding each other.
– Dana Levy-Wendt

I must before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet – a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and fearless force of non-human things.
– Bertrand Russell

knit words into a shawl
to wrap around your shiver
then wish I’d brought a real blanket, warm
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
– Rumi

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
– Hermann Hesse

What writing a poem really does ― and what figuring how to perform effectively really does ― is forces people to listen to you…. It frames your thoughts in such a way that grabs people’s attentions and forces them to hear the things that you’re actually saying.
– Daveed Diggs

As you begin to walk out on the way
The way appears.
– Rumi

Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and also quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don’t do anything. In that state truth will reveal itself to you.
– Kabir

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.
– Nietzsche

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.
– Mary Oliver

If you have practiced the Dharma, your life has been meaningful, and even if you are suddenly struck and killed by a thunderbolt this very day, you need have no regrets.

And if you have not practiced the Dharma, there is at least one thing you do not need to worry about—leaving saṃsāra behind. There is no chance of that; you are in it now, and you will be in it for many more lifetimes, like a bee trapped in a jar, flying sometimes up and sometimes down but never escaping.

It makes little difference in the end whether you live a few more years or a hundred, if all you are going to do is to fritter your time away.

– H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Well don’t shoot me, man, I’m a graceful slow dancer
I’m just a dream to you not real at all.
– Bruce Cockburn

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Tell the Earth how much you care, how beautiful she is, and how much you love her. Ask for her forgiveness for having been so careless.
– Yoko Ono

-Cease consuming, practice generosity.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words…As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning! And the meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
– Alan W. Watts

Today, I turn to silence;
Let the language do the talking.
– Donald Britton

A writer–and, I believe, generally all persons–must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Not
the bald image, but always –
undulant, elusive, beyond reach
of any dull
staring eye – lodged

among the words, beneath
the skin of images: nerves,

muscles, rivers
of urgent blood, a mind

secret, disciplined, generous and
unfathomable.

– Denise Levertov

The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall,
and the way forward always in the end
the way that you followed, the way that carried you
into your future, that brought you to this place,
no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you,
no matter that it had to break your heart along the way:
the sense of having walked from far inside yourself
out into the revelation, to have risked yourself
for something that seemed to stand both inside you
and far beyond you, that called you back
to the only road in the end you could follow, walking
as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,
so that one day you realized that what you wanted
had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place
you had lived in before you began,
and that every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise
that first set you off and drew you on and that you were
more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:
as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city
with golden towers, and cheering crowds,
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:
like a person and a place you had sought forever,
like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond;
like another life, and the road still stretching on.
– David Whyte, “Santiago”

I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life.
– Fernando Pessoa

This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.
– Howard W. Hunter

My dear, is it true that your mind is sometimes like a battering ram running all through the city, shouting so madly inside and out about the ten thousand things that do not matter?
– Hafiz

Do not expect that if your book falls open
to a certain page, that any phrase
you read will make a difference today,
or that the voices you might overhear
when the wind moves through the yellow-
green
and golden tent of autumn, speak to you.
Things ripen or go dry. Light plays on the
dark surface of the lake. Each afternoon
your shadow walks beside you on the wall,
and the days stay long and heavy underneath
the distant rumor of the harvest. One
more summer gone,
and one way or another you survive,
dull or regretful, never learning that
nothing is hidden in the obvious
changes of the world, that even the dim
reflection of the sun on tall, dry grass
is more than you will ever understand.
And only briefly then
you touch, you see, you press against
the surface of impenetrable things.
– Dana Gioia

Don’t be judgmental.
On the level of form,
there is nothing and nobody that
is free from limitation.
The formless alone cannot show

us the whole truth and the form alone

is incomplete.

when both commune effortlessly

and dance together, our life turns into

a continuous and unfolding grace. 

Here, we can remain true

to who we are.
– Guthema Roba

It is time.

Crawl up from the underworld.
Depart your long stay in
thick darkness and clay.

Find your roots.

Find your roots.

Follow – straight or
spiralling – to the surface and
into the humid,
star-storied night.

Proceed, slowly, yes,
but with the unyielding intent
to become the amazing thing
that you have never before
seen.

Can you feel your soft, tender body
up against the inside of your
dry, tight, skin?

The edge. The tightness.
It tears you apart…

this back-splitting longing to
be larger that that which has
contained you.

I know that dream.

The one about having wings.

So, find that place where you will,
consciously,
take the last step
as who you have been,
unfold your future,
and cast the old story behind you.

Emerge. Break free.

Surrender to your destiny,
lifting your long struggled forth form
onto a tree trunk,
or a flower stalk.

The moistness.
It is always there –
conception, growth,
birth, life, death.

Notice the eyes.

Red.

Let the soft dawning breezes
caress your sensitive nature,
as you unfurl lacy,
iridescent dreams.
So clear.

Now firm in the daylight.
You are seen.

Listen.

The world is calling to you.

Let yourself be heard.

Trust in what you have been
gifted.

Trust in what you have been
gifted.

Take flight –

with this core truth:

Where you land
and what you do
will determine
how well grounded
we are in the future.

– Jamie Reaser, Wild Life

In the struggle between yourself and the world, side with the world.
– Kafka

It would be an endless battle if it were all up to ego
because it does not destroy and is not destroyed by itself
It is like a wave
it makes itself up, it rushes forward getting nowhere really
it crashes, withdraws and makes itself up again
pulls itself together with pride
towers with pride
rushes forward into imaginary conquest
crashes in frustration
withdraws with remorse and repentance
pulls itself together with new resolution.
– Agnes Martin

Each artist seems thus to be the native of an unknown country, which he himself has forgotten.
– Marcel Proust

The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even spirituality.
– Chögyam Trungpa

In short, the greatest gift of relationship proves to be that as the result of encountering each other, we are obliged to grow larger than we had planned.
– James Hollis

Practice patience; it is the essence of praise. Have patience, for that is true worship. No other worship is worth as much. Have patience; patience is the key to all relief.
– Rumi

Though you want to flee from yourself so as not to have to live what remains unlived until now.But you cannot flee from yourself. It is with you all the time and demands fulfillment. If you pretend to be blind and dumb to this demand, you feign being blind and deaf to yourself. This way you will never reach the knowledge of the heart. The knowledge of your heart is how your heart is. From a cunning heart you will know cunning. From a good heart you will know goodness. So that your understanding becomes perfect, consider that your heart is both good and evil. You ask, “What? Should I also live evil?” The spirit of the depths demands: “The life that you could still live, you should live. Well-being decides, not your well-being, not the well-being of the others, but only well-being.”
– C.G. Jung

a poem of pleads and names in two parts.

please.
say love.
say it tonight.
talk to me.
tell me what you hear.

please.
say god.
say it at sunrise.
look at me.
tell me how you see.

please say
here.
touch me.
tell me where i am.

please say
now.
make love to me.
tell me who i am.

please.
say peace.
say it always.
be in me.
tell me what you feel.

please.
say my name.
say it one last time.
don’t go.
tell me that i love you.

——-

for there is war on earth.
but peace in heavens.
and that shouldn’t be.
i say to god.
god: this is wrong.

if god is in heavens
behind the sunsets and the stars and the moons
how can he see them?
isn’t he sad?
is that the reason he is so silent?

my love
tell god not to be so sad.
i will drink wine and sing with her.
singing is good.
peace is good.

don’t be afraid my love.
tell the god of heavens to remember.
tell her the earth is still beautiful.
that poets still love.
that i still feel compassion for her.

please.
say my name.
sit naked under my fig tree.
let the earth know you.
i’m here.

– hune margulies

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.
– Albert Camus

A culture that values production over life values the wrong things, because it will produce things at the expense of living beings, human or otherwise.
– Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

The journey in life and love is “the journey that costs not less than everything”
– T. S. ELiot

Meditation is a passport to a dimension that overlaps the world we are familiar with, yet remains unaffected by the many compelling narratives that surround it – both colorful and catastrophic.

Being is the vertical dimension of life. Thoughts are the horizontal dimension – one where concepts like space and time make sense. The intersection of the two is the now.

From the now two roads diverge. Meditation is the road less traveled, a journey from being into being. It can make all the difference.
– Nithya Shanti

I wanted to write, and just tell you that me, and my spirit were fighting this morning. It isn’t known generally, and you must’nt tell anybody.
– Emily Dickinson

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
– Virginia Woolf

To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture.
– Frantz Fanon

ALLAN KAPROW:

Suppose you telephone your own answering
device and leave a message that you called –
you might learn something about yourself.

Suppose you offer to sweep a friend’s house,
and then spread the gathered dust through your own place –
you might learn something about friendship.

Suppose you watch a clear sky and wait for a cloud to form –
you might learn something about nature.

Suppose you wait longer, for the sky to clear –
you might learn something else about yourself.

Our version of Buddhism will be ecological awareness.
– Fritjof Capra

doesn’t matter
if we’re hungry for the truth
if we can’t keep it down

– Andrea Gibson

The poet is in labor.
– Denise Levertov

I confess the obvious, my inadequacy to translate
famine to bread to feed all the hungry children on earth.
Wish I could invent a happiness machine or dollar tree
blossoming with nontaxable revenue for small businesses.
Wish for a thousand bitcoins, wild doves of aqueous tongues,
non-walled paradises of flora and flame, psalms of untilled
ardor, testimonies on fevered inkstone. Inner voice says,
Aren’t you asking whether there is a soul
or whether souls may be saved?

Wish I could do more than arrange inklings into lines,
whisper God’s love into our millennial vanity as labor.
Wish I cobbled heels of solace at funerals for mothers.
In a vision, Jesus is younger than I am now, bleeding
on iron pikes driven to bone. See a letter in the shape
of a T-square, pin on pin. Wonderful how he fulfills
his divine assignment, what he is called to do. Night
drops like a black lily—
the labor is finished.

– Karen An-Hwei Lee

Never feel jealous of people who keep posting pics of all the parties they go to. They weren’t there; they were on Facebook.
– Carli Toswei

The greatest of Dreamers
Are in Africa
For that is where man
First came to dream.
– Jack Parken

To restore silence is the role of objects.
– Samuel Beckett

In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.
– Maxine Hong Kingston

We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.
– Jack Kornfield

You can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions.
– Jack Kornfield

I want to write a poem
as simple as a glass of water
or as a piece of bread abandoned
on the table by a child
A poem transparent like a window
light like a winged ingot of lead and
yet heavy like butterflies among city lorries
A poem wrought of invisible words
Whose echo is heard for some hundreds of years
Murmuring like a river, forever.

– Stefan Baciu

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
– Cesare Pavese

For a long time I have known that our interior world is the soil in which the seeds of art take root. Without this seed in which the magic part of life is hidden, and from which a work of art can be born, there is no art, there is no music.
– Thomas de Hartmann

The world is a woman, and is nurturing, and the world nurtures us, and when we lose sight of that, things happen…bad things happen.
– Michael Quirke

Be an oasis.
– Kuma-sensei’s final Dharma-instruction

They passed eons living alone in the mountains and forests; only then did they unite with the Way and use mountains and rivers for words, raise the wind and rain for a tongue, and explain the great void.
– Dogen’s Shobogenzo

kashikomaru
shide ni namida no
kakaru kana
mata itsuka wa to
omou aware ni

Awe is what fills me
as my tears fall onto the sacred
branch I here present:
my feelings are of someone
wondering if he’ll ever return.

– William LaFleur, Awesome Nightfall

But fear of making mistakes can itself become a huge mistake, one that prevents you from living, for life is risky and anything less is already a loss.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
– David Whyte

Would you die for those you love?
And now, the tougher question:
Would you live for them?

Everything that occurs in the confused mind is regarded as path. Everything is workable. It is a fearless proclimation, the Lion’s Roar.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

… True wildness is a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.
– Robert Bly

When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the
cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don’t know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like
burnt paper.
– D.H. Lawrence

Working with others makes you humble.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Existence is not something which lets itself be thought of from a distance; it must invade you suddenly, master you, weigh heavily on your heart like a great motionless beast – or else there is nothing at all.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

But hope is not enough for me any more,
I don’t want to listen to songs any more,
I want to sing.
– Nazim Hikmet

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
– Rumi

I never thought of myself as being in the avant-garde. I said
what I had to say, as I was able to say it.
– Simone de Beauvoir

Connecting the mind and body is not just a health strategy. It is a movement of consciousness that can change the world.
– Matthew Sanford

Life is calling us to realize our true nature and life’s wholeness. We are needed to help life to awaken from a dream that is destroying it.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul’s companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out:
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love.
– Rumi

I never ceased to stand, because of Your love,
on a station where minds are bewildered.
– Abul-Hasan an-Nuri

Memory says the music always ran ahead of the words.
– Adrienne Rich

Everything we say tends to veil the one affirmation: that everything must fade and that we can remain loyal only so long as we watch over this fading movement, to which something in us that rejects all memory already belongs.
– Maurice Blanchot

I’m neither the loosening of song nor the close-drawn tent of music; / I’m the sound, simply, of my own breaking.
– Ghalib

Poets have done this before
and they’ve wandered off alone and unheard of
to bury the caul of their own stillborn
– Frank Stanford

You have a unique body and mind, with a particular history and conditioning. No one can offer you a formula for navigating all situations and all states of mind. Only by listening inwardly in a fresh and open way will you discern at any given time what most serves your healing and freedom.
– Tara Brach

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.
– Pema Chodron

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
– Lilla Watson

We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
We are the breath of the forests of the land, and the plants of the sea.
We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
And we share a common future, as yet untold.
We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
Linked in that web, we are interconnected — using, cleansing, sharing and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
For the first time, we have touched those limits.
When we compromise the air, the water, the soil and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.
– From The Declaration of Interdependence by David Suzuki

Chogyam Trungpa ~ We possess what is known as basic goodness. Then we develop an overlay of unnecessary tricks and occupations
Great Eastern Sun

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
– Adrienne Rich

The Ones that are True By Claire Boyce
Cliodhna on the wings –
Something great and mysterious.
I am holding my own hand, waiting to catch up.
I am writing my own stories, for the beauty of it all.
I want what no one else wants:
I want to be vulnerable.
Not to write good poems, but to write the ones that are
True-
That take shape in the fathoms and wastelands of the formless
To make patterns and pages and books, enormous.

Creativity rebels and fights against order and force. Don’t try and define it or run to it or dissect it. Just sit. Not with a certain time. More with a vague block of time. The night. Dusk. Dawn. The long stretch of an afternoon. Sit and feel the sky responding to the sun moving light across the earth. Simply be with that and don’t worry or plan or think about the words.
– Victoria Erickson

O Ancient One,
your web hangs down from the pines.

I am of the Owl clan.

I have been to water,

my dress is of red clay.

He moves at the edge of you,

binds us with your threads.

The center of his soul shall be my soul’s center.

Our paths shall be white forever.

Where we move the paths from every direction

shall recognize each other.

We are one never to be parted.
– Gladys Cardiff

Make no mistake. The healing that is set in motion when we die to our old stories is like a domino effect that will go on perpetually, affecting every single area of our lives, every layer of our complex personalities and carefully constructed identities, every memory, every perception of who we think ourselves to be; all to reveal a deeper truth that frees us to remember the unique expression of life that we each are at the source of our being.
– Petra Lentz-Snow

Buddha’s attainment of the truth is just like someone using the ground to get up off the ground.
– Dōgen

I’ve often lost myself, in order to find the burn that keeps everything awake.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

To love another is something
like prayer and it can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
– Anne Sexton

It’s still the same light, in the morning, which sets in and grows, Yet the world, perceived by two, has a completely different meaning. I don’t know anymore whether this is love or revolutionary action..
– Michel Houellebecq

You need an infinite stretch of time ahead of you to start to think, infinite energy to make the smallest decision. The world is getting denser. The immense number of useless projects is bewildering. Too many things have to be put in to balance up an uncertain scale. You can’t disappear anymore. You die in a state of total indecision.
– Jean Baudrillard

“Experience” means the encounter with the unforeseen, the opaque, the part of life the individual cannot altogether control, the puzzling and surprising, a multiplicity of voices, the desire and the horror of reality and the body, the ephemeral and transitory aspects of life, all the things we cannot cope with and therefore have to narrate. The epic has to do with the fragility and brevity of life.
– Martin Hielscher

Key Instructions by Lama Gendun Rinpoche
Lama Gendun Rinpoche Key Instructions
Happiness – An instruction expressed spontaneously

Happiness cannot be found
through great effort and willpower,
but is already here, right now,
in relaxation and letting go.
Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do.
Whatever arises in the mind
has no importance at all,
because it has no reality whatsoever.
Don’t become attached to it. Don’t pass judgement.
Let the game happen on its own,
emerging and falling back – without changing anything –
and all will vanish and begin anew, without end.
Only our searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it.
It is like a rainbow which you run after without ever catching it.
Although it does not exist, it has always been there
and accompanies you every instant.
Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;
they are like rainbows.
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you relax this grasping,
there is space – open, inviting and comfortable.
So make use of it. Everything is already yours.
Search no more,
Don’t go into the inextricable jungle
looking for the elephant who is already quietly at home.
Nothing to do,
nothing to force,
nothing to want
and everything happens by itself.

The greatest wealth is a poverty of desires.
– Seneca

My Beloved Child
Break your heart no longer
Each time you judge yourself
You break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love,
Which is the wellspring of your vitality
The time has come. Your time
To live
To celebrate
And to see the goodness that you are.
You my child are divine
You are pure
You are sublimely free
You are god in disguise
And you are always perfectly safe.
Do not fight the dark,
Just turn on the light.
Let go
And Breathe into the goodness that you are.
– Swami Kripalvanandji (Bapuji)

Love, it’s such a night, laced with running water, irreparable, riddled with a million leaks. A night shaped like a shadow thrown by your absence. Every crack trickles, every overhang drips. The screech of nighthawks has been replaced by the splash of rain. The rain falls from the height of streetlights. Each drop contains its own shattering blue bulb.
– Stuart Dybek

The crowns of trees shake in warm
currents of air. Unattainably distant mountains.
Intangible rainbows. Huge cliffs of clouds
flowing slowly through the sky. The sumptuous,
unattainable afternoon. My life,
swirling, unattainable, free.
– Adam Zagajewski

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.
– Austin Kleon

That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.
– Paulo Coelho

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy, that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. It is an exercise, which always involves a certain number of internal contradictions and even a few absurdities. The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character-building value of privation for the poor.
– John Kenneth Galbraith

how are we to vote? the portuguese poet pessoa said that literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. what the poet is saying is probably what japanese poet basho once said: to live poetry is better than to write it. indeed. for we write poetry with the deeds of our lives, and sometimes, when the urge calls our names, we may chose a few words too. consider this: given the state of the religious discourse during the present american election cycle we might want to say that for some believers religion has become the most agreeable way of ignoring god. for the poet on the mound blessed the poor and the peacemakers. his ancestors poets asked that we turn weapons of war to plowshares, and that we love the strangers as we love ourselves. we know that depression or anxiety is not a personal failure, it is nature becoming ill. we seek healing and we find it also in the embrace of the neighbor. but to hate, to oppress, to kill or to be a racist is a choice we make, and it is nothing other than the human soul becoming ill. can we heal the soul? yes: once we understand that the soul is not within us or somewhere in heavens. the soul is every deed of compassion we do. to enact the soul is the most agreeable way of becoming human.
– hune margulies

When we live superficially, we are always outside ourselves, never quite ‘with’ ourselves, always divided and pulled in many directions – we find ourselves doing many things that we do not really want to do, saying things we do not really mean, needing things we do not really need, exhausting ourselves for what we secretly realize to be worthless and without meaning in our lives.
– Thomas Merton

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
– Steve Jobs

Few things in life can spark & radiate strong pleasure, intense feelings, & touch the main nerve of the soul…music is a divine source to those who will let it travel within.
– Ellis Hadlock

Coming into our own humanity often takes enormous effort, commitment and bravery. I believe we should be taught that at an early age. I believe part of the violence of our culture stirs from the myth that kindness is natural. I don’t think kindness is natural. I think kindness would only be natural in a world where no one is hurt, and everyone is hurt. So kindness is work. Is our knees in the garden weeding our bites, our apathies, our cold shoulders, our silences, our cruelties, whatever taught us the word ugly. There is no weapon more dangerous than a wound, and being wounded there are things we have all done that we would almost would rather die that face into, but no one heals what they refuse to look at. So when asked if I believe in “good people”, I say I believe in people who are committed to knowing their own wounds intimately. People who read their wound’s diaries, who follow their wounds out windows, down ladders asking “Where are you going? What do you need? How can I intervene before a cruel thing is done or said?” And if you’re reading this and you’re inclined to think yourself a consistently kind person, I ask you to first make sure you have included yourself on the list of people you may be directing your unkindnesses to. We are taught to believe shame is pacifist. I am certain it is not.
– Andrea Gibson

Occasionally I sense an insane wail deep down in the pit, the echo alone reaching me, striking without warning, a child weeping uninhibitedly, imprisoned forever.
– Ingmar Bergman

I will write every day to an unknown beloved, unnamed, or divine journal which is really who / what I wish to absorb all of my news. How disappointing though, when the imaginary does not write back! Otherwise there would be no need for actual persons to exist.
– Laynie Browne

Come, let us be friends for once; let us make life easy on us; let us be lovers and loved ones; the earth shall be left to no one.
– Sufi Poem

Authentic spirituality is revolutionary. It does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it shatters it. And it does not render the self content, it renders it undone.
– Ken Wilber

If you want to live a life of balance, start now. Turn off the news, meditate, turn on Mozart, walk through the forest or the mountains and begin to make yourself a zone of peace.
– Jack Kornfield

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, In which you can walk with love and reverence.
– Namdak Choeying

The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.
– Tom Robbins

Through Love, the lion becomes a mouse.
Through Love, illness becomes health.
– Rumi

Painting a vision of ultimate possibility is a wonderful thing, but only if we are willing to do the real-time work to make it possible. Transformation- individually and collectively- is a trillion step process. It’s fine to point out what is wrong with a system, but far finer to couple that criticism with efforts to improve it.
– Jeff Brown

It must be obvious that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.
– Alan Watts

You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run.
– Alan Watts

Easier to change than to suffer. Grow out of your childishness, that is all. This is all childishness, clinging to the toys, to your desires and fears, opinions and ideas. Give it all up and be ready for the real to assert itself.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.
– Pema Chödron

Things break. Rocks break, concrete breaks, pottery breaks, glass breaks, mountains and earth break: all things under the sun eventually change in relationship to the environment around them. That’s how nature works. But we never say that sand is broken rocks, we say its sand. Our language gives us this capacity to see each state of matter as equally whole and still complete.

I have never met a broken person. I’ve met abused people, people with prison records, with addiction struggles, with mental ‘illnesses’, with differently-abled bodies, with medical conditions, with body image issues, with financial issues, with employment issues with family issues, with social issues, but I have never, ever, met a single broken person. People with issues are not deficient humans, ever. And whether or not the struggles and issues show, they are human, still capable of changes, struggle, work, growth, and whatever they can will or desire. It doesn’t look the same for each person. There’s not one standard of ‘being well enough’.

You know what substance doesn’t break very much? Plastic. Plastic takes thousands of years to change its form; that’s because its a natural substance pressed into a totally unnatural form it would never have naturally approached. Plastic people (you know what kind I mean) may not look like they’re breaking, but they don’t look real either. Call in the Voight-Kampf test; replicant on the loose.

Here’s to you, with all your flaws, faults, and issues. No matter what person you became or are becoming, you’re not broken, ever.
– Genelle Chaconas

Nansen: “Make a thorough study of the Buddha Dharma, and broadly benefit the world.”

Tozan: “I have no question about studying the Buddha Dharma, but what is it to broadly benefit the world?”

Nansen: “Not to disregard a single being.”

– Karen Maezen Miller

Chogyam Trungpa ~ When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world – which is saying the same thing. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time they destroy one another.

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
– Gospel of Thomas

A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me — a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic — or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
– Denise Levertov

Between input and reaction there is a gap of pure awareness that we usually don’t notice and speed right by. That is why our life feels like a blur.
– David Nichtern

Be careful, lest in casting out your demon, you exorcise the best thing in you.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.
– Samuel Beckett

Piano
BY D. H. LAWRENCE

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
– Haruki Murakami

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don’t know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt.

I have more than just one soul.
There are more I’s than I myself.
I exist, nevertheless,
Indifferent to them all.
I silence them: I speak.

The crossing urges of what
I feel or do not feel
Struggle in who I am, but I
Ignore them.
They dictate nothing
To the I I know: I write.

– Fernando Pessoa

Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.
– Meister Eckhart

Chogyam Trungpa ~~~ In the Shambhala tradition, we talk about being a warrior. I would like to make it clear that a warrior in this case, is not one who wages war. A Shambhala warrior is someone who is brave enough not to give in to the aggression and contradictions that exist in society. A warrior is a brave person, a genuine person who is able to step out of the cocoon-that very comfortable cocoon that he or she is trying to sleep in.

I love art. I love all of its iterations and permutations. I love knowing other artists. I love the bigness of creation and creative acts. I love color, form, line and design. I love words, verse, rhyme, and rhythm. I love sounds and colors and shapes, the way they fight through the soil of the underworld and blossom in the sun.
– Claire Boyce

Our way out involves both resistance and renewal: saying no to what is, so that we can reshape and recreate the world. Our challenge is communal, but to face it we must be empowered as individuals and create structures of support and celebration that can teach us freedom. Creation is the ultimate resistance, the ultimate refusal to accept things as they are. For it is in creation that we encounter Mystery…
– Starhawk

Aunt Elsie’s Night Music — by Mary Oliver

1
Aunt Elsie hears
Singing in the night,
So I am sent running
To search under the trees.
I stand in the dark hearing nothing–
Or, at least, not what she hears–
Uncle William singing again
Irish lullabies.
I stay awhile, then turn and go inside.
Uncle Williams’s been dead for years.

2
Climbing the steps, I think of what to say:
“I saw a bird stretching its wings in the moonlight.”
“There were marks on the grass–maybe they were footprints.”
“Next time I’ll be quicker.”

3
She’s as wrinkled as a leaf
You carry in your pocket for a charm
And fold and unfold.
She’s so old there’s no hope.
She’s so crazy there’s no end
To the things she thinks are happening:
Strangers have taken her house,
They have stolen her kitchen,
They have put her in a cold bed.

4
It is summer. The singing grows urgent.
Twice a week, sometimes more,
I am called from sleep to walk in the night
And think of death.

I have been to the graveyard.
I have seen Uncle William’s name
Written in stone.

I snap off the flashlight
And come in from the darkness under the trees
To the bedroom. Aunt Elsie is waiting.
I lean close to the pink ear.

5
Maybe this is what love is,
And always will be, all my life.

Whispering,
I give her an inch of hope

To bite on, like a bullet.

Mindfulness is a dynamic process. It’s not like asking everybody to hold still so we can take a photo of them. Everything is always moving and shifting. You can’t ask a butterfly to stop moving around so you can pay attention to it. Mindfulness means staying awake and fluid as the situation evolves.
– David Nichtern

The summer demands and takes away too much. /But night, the reserved, the reticent, gives more than it takes.
– John Ashbery

Love,
fly from me
with the paper airplane
of my imagination,
with the sincerity of your feeling…
You’ll see flourishing a land full of magic
and I will be the tree most high, a canopy
to give coolness and shelter.
Make my two arms
into two angel’s wings
and even if it brings me only a bit of peace
and even if the dream is but a toy.
But before you tell me something
watch the brilliance
of my heart blooming.
– Alda Merini

exulansis

dictionaryofobscuresorrows:

n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.

What if the place that we are in the midst of is different from the physical space that we currently inhabit? What if the things we yearn for are located elsewhere, in another place or in a remembered past, and all we now carry within us is an image of this place. We may remember only elements or impressions of it: there may be certain objects, smells, a smile or expression, particular acts or occasions, a word, all of which come out in a manner that we cannot control or understand. Yet any of these elements or impressions makes us feel ‘‘at home’’ in a way that we cannot find in the physical space where we are now stuck. This is the problem of exile, of being displaced and yet capable of remembering the particularity of place: it is the state of being dislocated yet able to discern what it is that locates us. We have a great yearning, but we cannot fulfill it with anything but memory.
– Peter King, from “Memory and Exile

occhiolism

dictionaryofobscuresorrows:

n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.

If not us, who? If not now, when?
– John F. Kennedy

I was not a writer to begin with; I was a listener.
– Erskine Caldwell

I think a good poem — in a mysterious, unmeasurable way — is religious.
– Michael Longley

In poetry, the music and the meaning are inseparable.
– Michael Longley

Good art, good poems make people more human.
– Michael Longley

Clear
by Joseph Massey

After eight days of rain
what isn’t overwritten
under sun. These

asphalt cracks
pushed further apart.
Eight days without

definition: gray walled
the room in, and I
thought I found a way

to stop thinking—to allow
gray to become a sound
I couldn’t hum myself out of.

All I heard was a window.
A long weed beat
unevenly against it.

My heart stops when I discover an orchid.
– Michael Longley

If you had a spare hour, I would not want to see you. I would want you to take a break from your path and do something lovely for yourself. A massage, or a swim, or fun with friends…whatever you have not done for yourself that you are thirsty for. Maitri. Space is love and I give that which can not be given to but can only be taken from you. And you need it: as you have said it provides ground for good things to come.
– Waylon Lewis

When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment.
– Shunryu Suzuki

Chogyam Trungpa ~ When you express gentleness and precision in your environment, then real brilliance and power can extend onto that situation. If you try to manufacture that presence out of your own ego, it will never happen. You cannot own the power and the magic of this world. It is always available, but it does not belong to anyone. ~ Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

From Citizen
– Claudia Rankine

Yesterday called to say we were together and you were bloodshot and again the day carried you across a field of hours, deep into dawn, back to now, where you are thankful for

what faces you, the storm, this day’s sigh as the day shifts its leaves, the wind, a prompt against the calm you can’t digest.

Blue ceiling calling a body into the midst of azure, oceanic, as ocean blushes the blues it can’t absorb, reflecting back a day

the day frays, night, not night, this fright passes through the eye crashing into you, is this you?

Yes, it’s me, clear the way, then hold me clear of this that faces, the storm carrying me through dawn

not knowing whether to climb down or up into its eye–day, hearing a breath shiver, whose are you?

Guard rail, spotlight, safety lock, airbag, fire lane, slip guard, night watch, far into this day are the days this day was meant to take out of its way. An obstable

to surrender, dusk in dawn, held open, then closing,

then opening, a red-tailed hawk, dusk at dawn, taking over blue, surveying movement, against the calm, red sky at morning,

whose are you?

The starlight smells
of new-fallen snow. I sit
with black bog-earth on my boots,
sit beneath singing spruces
and hear my heart translate for me
the wordless speech of the silence:
“Don’t fear
your coming evening.
The real life
awaits you in the west
behind all sunsets,
a happy homecoming to the life before your birth.
You must simply
die your way through
an earth-drawn human life first.”
– Hans Børli

If there were a poetry where this could happen
not as blank spaces or as words
stretched like skin over meanings
but as silence falls at the end
of a night through which two people
have talked till dawn
– Adrienne Rich

What was happening in my heart? I could have told you
It hurt. I could have told you I was in love
With something, every second, I did not know how to name,

Much less touch. I think I could have said
When egrets lifted into the sky of my grandmother’s yard
From the green-scummed water of the Tangipihoa

I hated them for their whiteness, for the light
Lift of their wingspan, for how they wheeled and vanished.
Everything I loved went on without me.

– T. R. Hummer

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.
– John Keats

Love is something else entirely. It is caring. It is arguing with curiosity—It is giving an inch when the other seems certainly wrong—it is teasing, it is empathy, it is respect, it is a moment of quiet smiling admiration each morning.
– Waylon Lewis

It is not enough to talk about transformation and harmony. It begins with us. Action, no matter how small it may seem, is needed on a daily basis. Do at least one thing each day to help restore balance to our world. Love, Pray, Act.
– Grace Alvarez Sesma

What Breaks Your Heart?

What breaks your heart so completely
that the entire world can fall in?
This is what I want to know.
This is what would give me hope:

You, finding the answer.

– Jamie K. Reaser

When people have their biases and prejudices, yes, I am aware. My head is not in the sand. But my thing is, if I can’t work with you, I will work around you. I was not about to be [so] discouraged that I’d walk away. That may be a solution for some people, but it’s not mine.
– Annie J. Easley

You are personally responsible
for becoming more ethical
than the society you grew up in.
– Eliezer Yudkowsk

Life on Earth is quite a bargain.
Dreams, for one, don’t charge admission.
Illusions are costly only when lost.
The body has its own installment plan.

And as an extra, added feature,
you spin on the planets’ carousel for free,
and with it you hitch a ride on the intergalactic blizzard,
with times so dizzying,
that nothing here on Earth can even tremble.

Just take a closer look:
the table stands exactly where it stood,
the piece of paper still lies where it was spread,
through the open window comes a breath of air,
the walls reveal no terrifying cracks
through which nowhere might extinguish you.
– Wisława Szymborska

Love is not a fluffy thing, it’s got edges and teeth. Love refuses to play small or sell out.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

Nurturing one’s spirit is as important as nurturing one’s body and mind.
– Laurence Fishburne

I was a scatterling. And really what that means is, as I said, of everywhere and nowhere. You know, it was as though I had traded depth for endless growth. In doing so, my knowledge was three miles wide and two inches deep.
– Martin Shaw

In any transition there is a gap where the absence of the previous reference point has not yet become the next one. In that space, there is no time. That is the Buddha’s time.
– Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.
– Rabindranath Tagore

In that book which is my memory,
On the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you,
Appear the words, ‘Here begins a new life’.
– Dante Alighieri

Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.
– Dante Alighieri

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

The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.
– Rebecca Solnit

I think only of the joy of seeing the sun rise once more and of being able to work a little bit, even under difficult conditions.
– Henri Matisse

In a time when it is beyond easy to give in to cynicism and despair, Shambhala vision is based on discovering basic goodness and creating enlightened society – a completely outrageous premise!
– David Nichtern

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.
– J.K. Rowling

When you’re in a very quiet place, when you’re remembering, when you’re savoring an image, when you’re allowing your mind calmly to leap from one thought to another, that’s a poem. That’s what a poem does. “You are living in a poem.”
– Naomi Shihab Nye

It’s important to celebrate your failures as much as your successes. If you celebrate your failures really well, and if you get to the motto and say, ‘Wow, I failed, I tried, I was wrong, I learned something,’ then you realize you have no fear, and when your fear goes away, you can move the world.
– Sebastian Thrun

And perhaps one would not do so badly to commence by learning a little respect for the poets.
– Beatrice Hastings

In the past, to be a ‘Person of the Dharma’ always meant going against the stream. It is to go against the course that society takes because that course is so often driven by compulsion and the unconscious. To truly align oneself with the Dharma, in this day and age, is practically an act of anarchy.
– Kuma-sensei

Life is like a shipwreck at times,
but we must remember to sing in the lifeboats.
– Voltaire

When you wake up in the morning, consciousness dawns. In this state of being conscious, you perceive a body, mind and world. These are appearances only, not what you are. To identify oneself with any of those appearances gives rise to the notion of being a separate person, self or individual entity. This is the cause of all seeking, suffering and doubts. Being conscious is a state that comes and goes. In sleep, unconsciousness or death, the experience of being conscious subsides. So it is clearly a transitory state. However, before you awoke and became conscious of anything else, including the fact of being conscious, you were there. Consciousness happened to you who were there to experience it. Your original, fundamental position is prior to consciousness. This “prior to consciousness” identity that you are cannot be named at all. From this unnameable, non-conceptual source, which is your original, innate nature, arises the sense of conscious presence. This is also the sense of being, the experience that “I am”, or the bare fact of knowing that you are. This is the first appearance or experience upon your original state. Within this consciousness state emerges the mind, the body and the entire world of appearances. Little can be said about your original state because it is clearly beyond all concepts and even prior to consciousness. Some pointers that have been used are: non-conceptual awareness, awareness unaware of itself, pure being (beyond being and non-being), the absolute, the unmanifest, noumenon, cognizing emptiness, no thing – to name only a few. This non-conceptual awareness or being IS what you are. It is pure non-duality or unicity in which both subject and object are merged. Just as the sun does not know light because it IS light, so you do not know your original nature (as an object) because you ARE THAT. It is forever beyond the grasp of concepts and subject-object knowledge. Yet it is entirely evident and inescapable as that in you (which is you) that allows you to say with utter certitude “I am” and “I know that I am”. Even when those words subside, you ARE. Even when the consciousness that knows those words subsides, you ARE. Consciousness is the light of creation. But you, as the unnameable source, are the primordial awareness, being or no thing (call it what you will) in which consciousness comes and goes.
– John Archibald Wheeler

…Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,

to ease our pains, quell our cries,

to hover over and nestle us, to deliver

us into the greatest, most enduring

peace, all the way past the bother of

recollection,

beyond the fine work of frailty,

the mishmash house of the coming & going,

creation’s fringes,

the eddies and curlicues.

- A.R. Ammons

Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life’s lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile.
– Oscar Wilde

Before talking to the teacher it is better to observe yourself a bit, in that way you might find the answer for yourself. It is better to be one’s own teacher or master rather than assigning this job to someone else. That is why the teacher, and above all a Dzogchen teacher, teaches us to observe ourselves and to discover our own condition, and always asks us all to become responsible for ourselves. Why do teachers ask these things? It is not because they are worried about being bothered, but because they know very well that always turning to one’s teacher is not a solution. The solution lies in observing ourselves and resolving our own problems by ourselves. Then, if we have no way of finding a solution, the teacher can certainly help us. If everyone did this it would be much easier. 

– Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, from “The Foundation of the Path”

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.
– E. O. Wilson

During last night’s insomnia, as these thoughts came and went between my aching temples, I realised once again, what I had almost forgotten in this recent period of relative calm, that I tread a terribly tenuous, indeed almost non-existent soil spread over a pit full of shadows, whence the powers of darkness emerge at will to destroy my life…
– Franz Kafka

Somewhere in the night a
human being is drowning.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment.
– Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.
– Milan Kundera

A dog has the soul of a philosopher.
– Plato

We need magic and bliss, and power and myth, and celebration and religion in our lives and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.
– Jerry Garcia

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

When we enter the landscape to learn something, we are obligated, I think, to pay attention rather than constantly to pose questions. To approach the land as we would a person, by opening an intelligent conversation. And to stay in one place, to make of that one, long observation a fully dilated experience. We will always be rewarded if we give the land credit for more than we imagine, and if we imagine it as being more complex even than language. In these ways we begin, I think, to find a home, to sense how to fit a place.
– Barry Lopez

Will we speak to each other
making the grass bend as if
a wind were before us, will our
way be as graceful, as
substantial as the movement
of something moving so gently.
We break things into pieces like
walls we break ourselves into
hearing them fall just to hear it.
– Robert Creeley, The Answer

Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.
– Joan Didion

Travel turned out to be no
anodyne, for we went home.
It was a sort of metaphor,
we now agree, a training
in loss.
– William Matthews

Wherever it is one stumbles (to get to wherever) at least some way will exist, so to speak, as and when a man takes this or that step–for which, god bless him. Insofar as these poems are such places, always they were ones stumbled into: warmth for a night perhaps, the misdirected intention come right; and too, a sudden instance of love, and the being loved, wherewith a man also contrives a world (of his own mind). […] I write poems because it pleases me, very much–I think that is true. In any case, we live as we can, each day another–there is no use in counting. Nor more, say, to live than what there is, to live. I want the poem as close to this fact as I can bring it; or it, me.
– Robert Creeley

Whatever an enemy might do
to an enemy,
or a foe to a foe,
the ill-directed mind
can do to you
even worse.
Whatever a mother, father
or other kinsman
might do for you,
the well-directed mind
can do for you
even better.
– Buddha

If you search for the awakened heart, if you put your hand through your ribcage and feel for it, there is nothing there but tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Body is purified by water, self (nafs) is purified by tears, intellect is purified by knowledge, and the soul is purified with love.
– Inam Ali (AS)

Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.
– Cheryl Strayed

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time.

Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have.

It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.
– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

You will recognize your own path
when you come upon it
because you will suddenly have all the energy
and imagination you will ever need.
– Sara Teasdale

Dogen: Fukanzazengi:
Put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light around and shine it inward. Your body and mind will drop away of themselves, and your original face will manifest. If you want to be in touch with things as they are, you – right here and now – have to start being yourself, as you are. You met the Buddha Way in this life – how could you waste your time delighting in sparks from a flint stone? Form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning – emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash. Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Share the wisdom of Buddhas with Buddhas, transmit the samadhi of ancestors to ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. This treasure house will open of itself; it is up to you to use it freely.

Darling, you feel heavy because you are too full of truth. Open your mouth more. Let the truth exist somewhere other than inside your body.
– Della Hicks-Wilson

We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemists eyes to notice.
– Jacob Nordby

…I know there is another way to live.
When I find it, the angels
will cry out in rapture,
each cell of my body
will be a rose, a star.

If something seized my life tonight,
if a sudden wind swept through me,
changing everything,
I would not resist.
I am ready for whatever comes.

But I think it will be
something small, an animal
padding out from the shadows,
or a word spoken so softly
I hear it inside.

It is dark out here, and cold.
The moon is stone.
I am alone with a longing.
Nothing is happening
but the next breath, and the next…
– Morgan Farley

… We don’t give our consciousness sufficient credit for its ability to take in noisy, ambiguous, contradictory givens from the senses, and sort it out: to say ‘this pattern of givens equals the copper bowl that is in front of me now and that was in front of me a moment ago,’ to confer thisness on what we perceive. I know you may feel uncomfortable with religious language, but it seems miraculous that our consciousness can do this.
– Neal Stephenson

I approach language as if it will contain who I am.
– Jimmy Santiago Baca

From tiny experiences we build cathedrals.
– Orhan Pamuk

The deep ecologists warn us not to be anthropocentric, but I know no way to look at the world, settled or wild, except through my own human eyes. I know that it wasn’t created especially for my use, and I share the guilt for what the members of my species, especially the migratory ones, have done to it. But I am the only instrument that I have access to by which I can enjoy the world and try to understand it. So I must believe that, at least to human perception, a place is not a place until people have been born in it, have grown up in it, lived in it, known it, died in it–have both experienced and shaped it, as individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities, over more than one generation. Some are born in their place, some find it, some realize after long searching that the place they left is the one they have been searching for. But whatever their relation to it, it is made a place only by slow accrual, like a coral reef.
– Wallace Stegner

The challenge today certainly, for those of us of European descent, is to turn back or move forward to more sustainable eco-ethics, and to take on the work of decolonizing our hearts, minds and opulent lifestyles. We need to re-enchant and rebalance the world with a massive injection of earth-connected and holistic principles promoting biophilia, rewilding, personal and planetary healing, peace-making, social justice, earth-connected sustainability and peaceful co-existence. This resurgence is happening everywhere, in all sectors of society, and the various knowledge systems and their disseminators are doing a wonderful job at bending the curve. But what is often missing in these practices are the spiritual expressions that would arise from a strong, grounded connection to the land itself, from the recovery of our own ancestral traditions, and from getting back to our own indigenous knowledge.
– Pegi Eyers

If your religion, politics or culture is such that your heart closes to others because they are different you might want to look a bit deeper at that.
– Frank Owen

Quick reflection on the nature of emotion:

Emotions are always situational. We are embedded in densely connected environments that are filled with dynamic characters. We ourselves are among these characters and our emotions emerge naturally out of the flux and flow of experiences in this context. If you don’t like your emotional state and try to make yourself feel something different, you will inevitably lose the sincerity that is essential to all honest communication. People feel that and your relationships with everyone will suffer.

What’s necessary is an overhaul of your whole interpretation of the world. Deep reframing of situations and relationships – progressively unraveling them through artistic interpretation in search of more and more compelling beauty – infuses them with profound significance. We are in search of the Source of awe, of love, joy and compassion. We long for the brilliant satisfaction of embracing a numinous present. The process of uncovering the subtlest beauty in everything is a plunge toward the fountainhead.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
– Emily Dickinson

That the self advances and confirms the ten thousand things is called delusion; that the ten thousand things advance and confirm the self is called enlightenment.
– Dogen Zenji, 13th century Japan

I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.
– Frida Kahlo

I think I could turn and live with animals,
they’re so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied,
not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another,
nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
– Walt Whitman

The deepening of reflection is more important than the search for truth. Insight rather than information.
– Thomas Moore

The Stolen Child
by W.B.Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

But you will never realize that an incident which filled but a degree in the circle of your thoughts covered the whole circumference of mine. No person can see exactly what and where another’s horizon is.
– Thomas Hardy

People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.
– Paulo Coelho

Hiking is my yoga.
– Stephen Hatch

Those tender words we spoke to one another
Are stored in the secret heart of heaven.
One day, like the rain,
they will fall and spread
And their mystery
will grow green over the world.
– Rumi

Zen is feeling your way along in the dark. You might think it would be better to have more light, to know where you are going, and to get there in a hurry, but Zen is feeling your way along in the dark. Then you are careful and sensitive to what is happening.
– Shunryu Suzuki

open window / the past comes back / better than a dream.
– Ryôkan

The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from. That is why true artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge. And if they have to take sides in this world, they can perhaps side only with that society in which, according to Nietzsche’s great words, not the judge but the creator will rule, whether he be a worker or an intellectual. By the same token, the writer’s role is not free from difficult duties. By definition he cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it.
– Albert Camus

Music builds bridges
Across the many borders
We’ve built in our minds.
– Colum Sands

So much of life is about love. If you are part of building something that builds up love, you’re the luckiest person in the world.
– Sara Horowitz

Clear as the endless ecstasy of stars
That mount for ever on an intense air;
Or running pools, of water cold and rare,
In chiselled gorges deep amid the scaurs,
So still, the bright dawn were their best device,
Yet like a thought that has no end they flow;
Or Venus, when her white unearthly glow
Sharpens like awe on skies as green as ice:

To such a clearness love is come at last,
Not disembodied, transubstantiate,
But substance and its essence now are one;
And love informs, yet is the form create.
No false gods now, the images o’ercast,
We are love’s body, or we are undone.

– Nan Shepherd

It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious, that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must co-operate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct; not to destroy.
– Thomas Paine

In this house of clay and water, my heart lies in ruin without you. Dear Soul, please enter this house, so I can begin to rebuild.
– Rumi

When a warrior learns to stop the internal dialogue, everything becomes possible; the most far-fetched schemes become attainable.
– Carlos Castaneda

Everything is infinite in that it is metaphoric, poetic, symbolic, pointing to something ever deeper and more vast.
– Thomas Moore

You have to invent life.
– Agnès Varda

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.
– Andre Breton

The more one judges, the less one loves.
– Honore de Balzac

C.G. Jung — ‘Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.’

Remember when our songs were just like prayers.
Like gospel hymns that you called in the air.
Come down come down sweet reverence,
Unto my simple house and ring…
And ring.
– Gregory Alan Isakov

move to the element to which you belong, that gives you grace just by being in it.
– david whyte

We forget sometimes how extremely
Blessed we are.
We stumble through life at a frantic
Pace, clutching at what we think we
Need, deserve, or want.
But then, if we’re lucky, we stumble
Into each other, and everything changes!
Walls fall, needs are met by giving instead
Of clutching.
We realize we are both heroes and fools.
And way more than we ever pretended
To be!
We finally see it’s not the stars, but every
Grain of sand. Not the kingdom, but the
Forest. Not things set in stone, but the
Wind. Not the storm, but the stillness.
We find we are not separate egos, but
Part of. We learn to see with our hearts,
And hear with our souls.
We get dirty, we sweat, we laugh and
We cry.
We have long conversations without
Speaking. We make love with a simple
Touch.
We pray with every step, and dream
With soiled hands.
We love….

And that is enough!

– Eric Cockrell

If after I read a poem the world looks like that poem for 24 hours or so I’m sure it’s a good one.
– Elizabeth Bishop

Golden Heart by Mark Knopfler
She was swinging by the bangles in a main street store
A while before we met
The most dangerous angles that you ever saw
She spied her amulet
And she took a loop of leather for around her neck
And that was then the start
The most dangerous lady on her quarter deck
She found her golden heart
You found your golden heart
Then we swirled around each other and the thread was spun
To some arcadian band
I would stop it from swinging like a pendulum
Just to hold time in my hand
And you shot me with a cannonball of history
And long forgotten art
I’d be turning it over as our words ran free
I’d hold your golden heart
I’d hold your golden heart
Nothing in the world prepared me for your heart, your heart
Nothing in the world that I love more your heart, your heart
Your golden heart
And every time I’m thinking of you from a distant shore
And all the time I sleep
I will have a reminder that my baby wore
A part of you to keep
And I’ll send you all my promises across the sea
And while we are apart
I will carry the wonder that you gave to me
I’ll wear your golden heart
I’ll wear your golden heart
Nothing in the world prepared me for your heart, your heart
Nothing in the world that I love more your heart, your heart
Your golden heart
Your golden heart

Dear god, it is years since I’ve prayed.
I understand the birds are holy.
I understand the body leads us to love, or

this is one way of knowing the world.
– Stacie Cassarino

And then there was only
this story.
It followed me home

and entered my house –
a difficult guest
with a single tune

which it hums all day and through the night –
slowly or briskly,
it doesn’t matter,

it sounds like a river leaping and falling;
it sounds like a body
falling apart.
– Mary Oliver

Painters have often taught writers how to see.
– James Baldwin

Real learning comes about when the competitive sprit has ceased.
– J. Krishnamurti

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.
– George Santayana

Whatever God’s dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.
– Stella Terrill Mann

No amount of skilful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.
– Edward Hopper

Writing attests. It witnesses. It suggests the possibilities of the world around you.
– Verlyn Klinkenborg

A kind word is like a Spring day.
– Russian Proverb

There is no beginning, no ending. Only the infinite passion of life.
– Frederico Fellini

We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on our exciting adventures.
– Susan Jeffers

We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.
– Anne Lamott

To know how to choose a path with heart is to learn how to follow intuitive feeling. Logic can tell you superficially where a path might lead to, but it cannot judge whether your heart will be in it.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen

A poet enters the engulfing nature of language itself—the distance and immediacy of words.
– Susan Howe

Assume we never separated
I am still longing for you
Your magic is still in my eyes
I feel as if we are always together
You and I, and the world
– Can Yücel

It was in the style of the last century for poets to be tormented melancholiacs. But there can be poets who know life, who know its problems, and who survive by crossing through the currents. And who pass through sadness to plenitude.
– Pablo Neruda

There are many lists of trite advice you can read about grief, but they will only add to your confusion about why you can’t seem to sync your feelings with the grief map sanctioned by your culture.

This map is supposed to tell you what is normal, but that map was not made for you. It was made to keep the engine of our cultural machine running. It requires your numbness.

Refuse, my friend. Refuse with all your might to be numb.
– Alison Nappi

A Day on Inisheer

What would it be to live
on this island of rock, licked
by salt and luck, where the wind
blows east and the monks pray
west, the rest of the Gaelic folk
layer seaweed and sand
between leeward sides of rock
walls and rain falls on no
trees, soaks the homemade soil
over years so some grasses
can grow for the sheep who stare
out to sea. This stone doorway frames
the sky and sea and someone’s patch
of green held by another wall of stone.
Here, everything needs a crack,
a corner, a gryke to take hold—
what lives in crevices is what lives.
What is limestone but solid sea—crushed
bodies of coral and clams, the karst land
soluble in water, sea melting back
to sea. And me? Gone three generations
here, I bring the usual hunger
for history. There are many of us
wandering this draft of grief
for bones and names in the land—
I find nothing here but tenacity
on a windy rock with no trees,
no place but stones to protect
from the constant sea.
No wonder when selkies
peeled and hid their thick black
skins, they longed to go
back, to slip beneath the waves
and into the liquid grace of seals.
But only here on these burrens of stone
scraped raw by glacial ice, blue arctic
gentian in grykes next to red clover
and saxifrage—cracks with gardens
that travel and take hold—only here—
together from mountain top and sea.
– Anne Haven McDonnell

There is so much that fills me: plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man. The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things.
– Carl Jung

One of the saddest realities is most people never know when their lives have reached the summit. Only after it is over and we have some kind of perspective do we realize how good we had it a day, a month, five years ago. The walk together in the December snow, the phone call that changed everything, and that lovely evening in the bar by the Aegean. Back then you thought “this is so nice.” Only later did you realize it was the rarest bliss.
– Jonathan Carroll

We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.
– Marcel Proust

In my quiet moments I allow myself to fully entertain my own thoughts. I learn and grow in layers.
When I have come finally to decode what feels like garbled data and to understand more clearly what I am seeing, feeling and hearing, then I am ready to move through another layer.
Some days, learning how to live feels like too hard a struggle, but then I consider the alternatives – living a hollow and meaningless life, wasting or even resenting life, living stupidly and blundering mindlessly along, living only on the surface, never letting anything or anyone really touch or move me is certainly no easier.
When I consider the alternatives, it puts the struggle in perspective; I understand why I carry on.
– Tian Dayton

Nature is an incomparable guide if you know how to follow her. She is like the needle of the compass pointing to the North, which is most useful…when you know how to navigate.
– C. G. Jung

Everyone has a mourning ground, a place where the course of life turned, changed, altered, or disappeared forever. It could be a house, a park, or just a place on the pavement where the wrong words were said, the worst choice made, or fateful action taken. Our spirits are linked to these places forever and when our sorrow’s deep enough we return to them again and again to stand in our pain, reliving our memory, mumbling clumsy prayers that we might be offered a chance to change what happened, bend time so we could choose again. But it never happens. The shadowed ones just keep on doing that after death, returning to those places where their wounds are buried, hoping against hope that something in the walls or ground might emerge to save them. Mourning grounds. We all have them and it’s only in learning how to live with our hurts while we’re here that we’re set free of them.
– Richard Wagamese

As Shakespeare noted: poets
Have a lot in common
With lunatics and besotted
Lovers—except
The poet’s eye can rove
“In a fine frenzy rolling”
And take in heaven and earth
(and I’d add “hell” as well)—
Take in all three realms,
And also
That wild one inside us.

Not to mention what’s going on
In the beloved’s head
And heart—that double
Mystery no one’s every
Solved.
How to untangle
it all and make it plain?

“Grab your pen,” the Bard
Advised. “Write like crazy!”
Was his one command—
“It’s your only chance to stay sane.”

– Gregory Orr

But in the wonderful
Enclosure opening in my heart, I seem to recognize
Our voices lilting in the yard, inflected by the
Rhythms of a song whose words are seamless
And whose lines are never-ending. I can almost
See the contours of your face, and sense the
Presence of the trees, and reimagine all of us
Together in a deep, abiding happiness, as if the
Three of us inhabited a fragile, made-up world
That seemed to be so permanent, so real.
I have this fantasy: It’s early in the evening.
You and I are sitting in the backyard talking.
Friends arrive, then drinks and dinner, conversation …

The love summer twilight lasts forever …

– John Koethe

Outside my door, a cicada turns its engine on.
Above me the radar tower
Tunes its invisible music in:
other urgencies tell their stories
Constantly in their sleep,
Other messages plague our ears
[…]
The twilight twists like a screw deeper into the west.

– Charles Wright

When data is organized it becomes information. When information is contemplated it leads to knowledge. When knowledge is lived it awakens wisdom. When wisdom is the natural state there is ease, joy and freedom.
– Nithya Shanti

Identify with your soul not your role.
– Ram Das

The Sung dynasty painter-poet Kuo-hsi (c. 10601075) once wrote of mountains,

Inexhaustible is their mystery.
In order to grasp their creations
One must love them utterly,
Study their essential spirit diligently
And never cease contemplating them
And wandering among them

– Joan Halifax

Shamans Prayer:

Let there be a strange and wonderful world so that the mind may be taken and absorbed not in it self, not in its beliefs words and phrases but in the amazing place that surrounds us.

Let us fall in Love with that which is mysterious, enchanting and endless.
– Dino Delano

But the teaching for me was how dangerous it is not to allow our spiritual curiosity to be shaken, to have our faith shaken, and to lose it and to find it again, and to lose it, and to find it again. Because that is the way we grow, and it is dangerous to try to keep it unyielding because, then, at the end, it can abandon us.
– Meredith Little

Creative insights come at the raw and tender edge of confrontation, at the borderlines where we are most sensitive and exposed—and curiously, most alone. To meet you I must risk myself as I am.
– James Hillman

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
– Mahatma Gandhi

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

Some individuals, some families, some communities constantly correct each other. Some constantly appreciate each other. And some, with a wise balance of both, profoundly elevate each other. They rise in consciousness together.
– Nithya Shanti

The Rose

1

There are those to whom place is unimportant,
But this place, where sea and fresh water meet,
Is important–
Where the hawks sway out into the wind,
Without a single wingbeat,
And the eagles sail low over the fir trees,
And the gulls cry against the crows
In the curved harbors,
And the tide rises up against the grass
Nibbled by sheep and rabbits.

A time for watching the tide,
For the heron’s hieratic fishing,
For the sleepy cries of the towhee,
The morning birds gone, the twittering finches,
But still the flash of the kingfisher, the wingbeat of the scoter,
The sun a ball of fire coming down over the water,
The last geese crossing against the reflected afterlight,
The moon retreating into a vague cloud-shape
To the cries of the owl, the eerie whooper.
The old log subsides with the lessening waves,
And there is silence.

I sway outside myself
Into the darkening currents,
Into the small spillage of driftwood,
The waters swirling past the tiny headlands.
Was it here I wore a crown of birds for a moment
While on a far point of the rocks
The light heightened,
And below, in a mist out of nowhere,
The first rain gathered?

2

As when a ship sails with a light wind–
The waves less than the ripples made by rising fish,
The lacelike wrinkles of the wake widening, thinning out,
Sliding away from the traveler’s eye,
The prow pitching easily up and down,
The whole ship rolling slightly sideways,
The stern high, dipping like a child’s boat in a pond–
Our motion continues.

But this rose, this rose in the sea-wind,
Stays,
Stays in its true place,
Flowering out of the dark,
Widening at high noon, face upward,
A single wild rose, struggling out of the white embrace of the morning-glory,
Out of the briary hedge, the tangle of matted underbrush,
Beyond the clover, the ragged hay,
Beyond the sea pine, the oak, the wind-tipped madrona,
Moving with the waves, the undulating driftwood,
Where the slow creek winds down to the black sand of the shore
With its thick grassy scum and crabs scuttling back into their glistening craters.

And I think of roses, roses,
White and red, in the wide six-hundred-foot greenhouses,
And my father standing astride the cement benches,
Lifting me high over the four-foot stems, the Mrs. Russells, and his own elaborate hybrids,
And how those flowerheads seemed to flow toward me, to beckon me, only a child, out
of myself.
What need for heaven, then,
With that man, and those roses?

3

What do they tell us, sound and silence?
I think of American sounds in silence:
On the banks of the Tombstone, the wind-harps having their say,
The thrush singing alone, that easy bird,
The killdeer whistling away from me,
The mimetic chortling of the catbird
Down in the corner of the garden, among the raggedy lilacs,
The bobolink skirring from a broken fencepost,
The bluebird, lover of holes in old wood, lilting its light song,
And that thin cry, like a needle piercing the ear, the insistent cicada,
And the ticking of snow around oil drums in the Dakotas,
The thin whine of telephone wires in the wind of a Michigan winter,
The shriek of nails as old shingles are ripped from the top of a roof,
The bulldozer backing away, the hiss of the sandblaster,
And the deep chorus of horns coming up from the streets in early morning.
I return to the twittering of swallows above water,
And that sound, that single sound,
When the mind remembers all,
And gently the light enters the sleeping soul,
A sound so thin it could not woo a bird,

Beautiful my desire, and the place of my desire.

I think of the rock singing, and light making its own silence,
At the edge of ripening meadow, in early summer,
The moon lolling in the close elm, a shimmer of silver,
Or that lonely time before the breaking of morning
When the slow freight winds along the edge of the ravaged hillside,
And the wind tries the shape of a tree,
While the moon lingers,
And a drop of rain water hangs at the tip of a leaf
Shifting in the wakening sunlight
Like the eye of a new-caught fish.

4

I live with rocks, their weeds,
Their filmy fringes of green, their harsh
Edges, their holes
Cut by the sea-slime, far from the crash
Of the long swell,
The oily, tar-laden walls
Of the toppling waves,
Where the salmon ease their way into the kelp beds,
And the sea rearranges itself among the small islands.

Near this rose, in this grove of sun-parched, wind-warped madronas,
Among the half-dead trees, I came upon the true ease of myself,
As if another man appeared out of the depths of my being,
And I stood outside myself,
Beyond becoming and perishing,
A something wholly other,
As if I swayed out on the wildest wave alive,
And yet was still.
And I rejoiced in being what I was:
In the lilac change, the whit reptilian calm,
In the bird beyond the bough, the single one
With all the air to greet him as he flies,
The dolphin rising from the darkening waves;

And in this rose, this rose in the sea-wind,
Rooted in stone, keeping the whole of light,
Gathering into itself sound and silence–
Mine and the sea-wind’s.
-Theodore Roethke

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to
see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and
closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched
open, you’d be paralyzed. Your deepest
presence is in every small contracting and
expanding, the two as beautifully balanced
and coordinated as bird wings.

– Rumi

I wanted just to sink
into the cool water of literature,
to drift and rest among the pages for a while
and not to think about my own life

– Tony Hoagland

What lies inside the heart of one’s heart might be the inner text and living language, the story already set and woven within, only waiting to be stirred and awakened and followed all the way to the end.
– Michael Meade

Issues of the mind and heart are very important. They influence the environment, the economy, and society as a whole.
– Sakyong Mipham

The poem, the song, the picture, is only water drawn from the well of the people, and it should be given back to them in a cup of beauty so that they may drink – and in drinking understand themselves.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

I want to be a poet, from head to toe, living and dying by poetry.
– Federico Gracia Lorca

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
– Edgar Allan Poe

The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.
– Rebecca Solnit

You danced me to an endless ocean view
from a high mountain plain
Then you danced me through a dark abyss
over cliffs and into flame

And for awhile you seemed to disappear
My head could find no place to rest
But when the ashes and the smoke had cleared,
you were beating in my chest
– Kirtana

I believe in the kind of love that doesn’t demand me to prove my worth and sit in anxiety. I crave a natural connection where my soul is able to recognize a feeling of home in another. Something free-flowing, something simple. Something that allows me to be me without question.
– Joey Palermo

You can transform not only your physical world but your emotional world, for example, turning agitation into peace of mind by letting go of ambition or turning low self-respect into confidence by acting out of kindness and philanthropy. If we all condition ourselves to put our feet in other people’s shoes, we will cultivate peace in our homes, with our neighbors, and with other countries.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

I am broken,
As are you…
We plow an abandoned field

With a borrowed plow.
We pray for rain,
And shovel snow

The cat barks
The dog mutters and grins.

We make love in the mud
Polish light bulbs with cancer.
The frog, well armed,

Terrifies the priest.
Your hand shakes in your sleep,
I kiss the empty cup

That falls from the shelf
While lightning bugs pray.

The broken tint
In a sky unnamed.
The tilt of your lips

The curve, and the darkness!

– Eric Cockrell

What good is a Bill of Rights that does not include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom?
– Edward Abbey

Simply because humankind have the power now to meddle or ‘manage’ or ‘exercise stewardship’ in every nook and cranny of the world does not mean that we have a right to do so. Even less, the obligation.
– Edward Abbey

Until the culture recognizes the legitimacy of growing down, each person in the culture struggles blindly to make sense of the darkness that the soul requires to deepen into life.
– James Hillman

We need to work on the world so it will not be so oppressive.
– James Hillman

To be sane, we must recognise our beliefs as fictions.
– James Hillman

miracle it is to find the right words, words that carry soul accurately.
– James Hillman

We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently.
– James Hillman

Poets should get back to saying crazy shit / All of the time.
– Dorothea Lasky

We love because it’s the only true adventure.
– Nikki Giovanni

To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom. Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.
– Susan Sontag

The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness.
– Esther Hicks

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me, come dance.”
– Hafiz

But to say what you want to say, you must create another language and nourish it for years and years with what you have loved, with what you have lost, with what you will never find again.
– George Seferis

Every word that’s ever said tries to find a way to live.
– Joy Harjo

I feel I understand
Existence, or at least a minute part
Of my existence, only through my art,
In terms of combinational delight;
And if my private universe scans right,
So does the verse of galaxies divine
Which I suspect is an iambic line.
– Vladimir Nabokov

My body sings
only one song;
the wind turns
gray in my arms. //
Flowers bloom.
Flowers die.
More is less.
I long for more.
– Mark Strand

I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it.
– Henri Matisse

…Every living thing breaks forth into singing, and the glad exulting streams, shining and falling in the warm sunny weather, shake everything into music, making all the mountain-world a song.
– John Muir

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
– A. Lincoln

Good music can act as a guide to good living.
– John Cage

Martin Buber, thought, “The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a You to become; becoming I, I say You. All actual life is encounter.”

The Sentence
by Anna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966)

And the stone word fell
On my still-living breast.
Never mind, I was ready.
I will manage somehow.

Today I have so much to do:
I must kill memory once and for all,
I must turn my soul to stone,
I must learn to live again—

Unless . . . Summer’s ardent rustling
Is like a festival outside my window.
For a long time I’ve foreseen this
Brilliant day, deserted house.

…when we lose heart, really, it’s an opening: I’m depresed, frustrated, put-upon, sad…I’m ready to give up.
Trungpa Rinpoche loved that moment. He said, that is the moment when your ego has finally figured out that it can’t win. When you can actually learn something new. You’re open, soft.
Often, when I’m depressed—miserable—my friends will say, We like you more this way. You’re not an asshole. It’s a funny moment. I’m miserable, or think I am—but I’m more fun to be around. Often, when we think we’re fun or cool to be around, we’re just pretentious loud arrogant blowhards.
– Waylon Lewis

Writing down your thoughts is both necessary and harmful. It leads to eccentricity, narcissism, preserves what should be let go. On the other hand, these notes intensify the inner life, which, left unexpressed, slips through your fingers. If only I could find a better kind of journal, humbler, one that would preserve the same thoughts, the same flesh of life, which is worth saving.

Moreover the writer invents himself as a character in this form. He shapes himself from the shards of the everyday, from the truth of that daily life. Which is also a truth not to be scorned.”
– Anna Kamieńska

Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.
– J.K. Rowling

Gratitude to the Great Sky who holds billions of stars –
and goes yet beyond that –
beyond all powers, and thoughts and yet is within us –
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.
– Gary Snyder

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.
– Amit Ray

Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thy self.
– Felix Adler, An Ethical Philosopy of Life

Samsara is a world that comes when you want to fix something that’s moving.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

The most creative thing in art is misunderstanding.
– Ted Berrigan

Rumi the poet was a scholar also.
But Shams, his friend, was an angel.
By which I don’t mean anything patient or sweet.
When I read how he took Rumi’s books and threw them
into the duck pond,
I shouted for joy.
Time to live now,
Shams meant.
I see him, turning away
casually toward the road, Rumi following, the books
floating and sinking among the screeching ducks,
oh, beautiful book-eating pond!
– Mary Oliver

The sun of infinite love comes into your love,
and you are given more and more humble work.
Then you are given mastery.

The sun says to an unripe grape,
There is a kitchen inside you,
where you can make vinegar, or if I help, sweet juice.

– Rumi

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.
– Benjamin Franklin

Those who dwell . . . among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or 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.
– Rachel Carson

Colorado
Sometimes late at night the wind picks up and takes me
High up where the snow lives on a mountain
A cabin warmed by fire high on a hillside
Is where my heart lives would you like to see it?

It’s the finest place I’ve known, it’s my home
My soul’s in Colorado, don’t you know?

The winter wind blows cold through the mountain passes
Until the Chinooks come with their warm breezes
The winter chill gives way and life begins a blooming
Even on the high tundra columbine blossom

It’s the brightest place I’ve known, just like a home
I bloom in Colorado, why don’t you go?

When spring time comes again, as it always does
The riverbeds rise with the snowfall water
The water’s icy cold and rolls past old boulders
Placed in this stream here by some ancient glacier

Now that water moves my soul like liquid gold
It’s lovely Colorado, riches untold

And when the fall is here, when the season changes
Cold starts its trek down from the great divide
The aspen leaves change hue all with the first freeze
Mountains turned yellow gold in all their splendor

It’s a beautiful sight to see, the yellows and green
The color’s Colorado, nature in harmony
It’s the color in Colorado, its nature’s harmony
-Bill Nash

We live in the mind, in ideas, in fragments. We no longer drink in the wild outer music of the streets – we remember only.
– Henry Miller

I understand evil as that which increases illusion, or paranoia, or separateness, or separates, or increases the multiplicity…good is that which unifies, awakes, brings to consciousness, and releases human suffering.
– Ram Dass

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
– Francis Bacon

I count among my best friends people who misjudged my motives, made life difficult, and even fired me. Friendship is deep.
– Thomas Moore

No one asks you to throw Mozart out of the window. Keep Mozart. Cherish him. Keep Moses too, and Buddha and Lao Tzu and Christ. Keep them in your heart. But make room for the others, the coming ones, the ones who are already scratching on the window-panes.
– Henry Miller

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
 – Naomi Shihab Nye

Love is not what we dream of, but something better, weirder, because it is real.
– Waylon Lewis

Death most resembles a prophet who is without honor in his own land or a poet who is a stranger among his people.
– Kahlil Gibran

Night and the River

I have seen the great feet
leaping
into the river

and I have seen moonlight
milky
along the long muzzle

and I have seen the body
of something
scaled and wonderful

slumped in the sudden fire of its mouth,
and I could not tell
which fit me

more comfortably, the power,
or the powerlessness;
neither would have me

entirely; I was divided,
consumed,
by sympathy,

pity, admiration.
After a while
it was done,

the fish had vanished, the bear
lumped away
to the green shore

and into the trees. And then there was only
this story.
It followed me home

and entered my house—
a difficult guest
with a single tune

which it hums all day and through the night—
slowly or briskly,
it doesn’t matter,

it sounds like a river leaping and falling;
it sounds like a body
falling apart.

– Mary Oliver

He Was Lucky
by Anna Swir

An old man
leaves the house, carrying books.
A German soldier snatches the books
and throws them in the mud.

The old man picks up the books,
the soldier hits him in the face.
The old man falls,
the soldier kicks him and walks away.

The old man
lies in mud and blood.
Underneath he feels
the books.

I Talk to My Body
by Anna Swir

My body, you are an animal
whose appropriate behavior
is concentration and discipline.
An effort
of an athlete, of a saint and of a yogi

Well trained
you may become for me
a gate
through which I will leave myself
and a gate
through which I will enter myself
A plump line to the centre of the earth
and a cosmic ship to Jupiter.

My body you are an animal
from whom ambition
is right.
Splendid possibilities
are open to us.

For thousands of years it has been known that everything that exists in this world is alive and has a spirit. We are connected to a web of life that reflects the impact of the behavior of all that is alive. We can speak to the spirit of the trees, plants, rocks, rivers, animals, birds, insects, and reptiles and perceive their divine nature. As everything that exists is alive, each being also recognizes the divine in us. The earth is alive and is a sacred being. It is time for us to align with the heartbeat of the earth.
– Sandra Ingerman

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?
– Kahlil Gibran

It isn’t really about the mountain. You are the mountain.
– Kuma-sensei

I wonder if a child can perceive a loved parent as he or she really is. Maybe the eyes of love aren’t blind but visionary so they feel a deeper, more real reality.
– SUSAN HOWE

The best way to navigate times of great change is to cultivate the things that do not change. In the midst of a speedy world, learn stillness.
– Marianne Williamson

Once you realize that information is not intelligence it will open up a whole new paradigm of thought and insight.
– Dino Delano

When you speak a word to a listener, the speaking is an act. And it is a mutual act: the listener’s listening enables the speaker’s speaking. It is a shared event, intersubjective: the listener and speaker entrain with each other. Both the amoebas are equally responsible, equally physically, immediately involved in sharing bits of themselves.

[…]

The voice creates a sphere around it, which includes all its hearers: an intimate sphere or area, limited in both space and time.

Creation is an act. Action takes energy.

Sound is dynamic. Speech is dynamic — it is action. To act is to take power, to have power, to be powerful. Mutual communication between speakers and listeners is a powerful act. The power of each speaker is amplified, augmented, by the entrainment of the listeners. The strength of a community is amplified, augmented by its mutual entrainment in speech.

[…]

This is why utterance is magic. Words do have power. Names have power. 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 K. Le Guin

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.
– Colette

You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.
You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.
You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions.
You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.
– Frida Kahlo

Think higher, feel deeper.
– Elie Wiesel

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
– Pablo Picasso

Stories transform the future! They go ahead of societal change in order to open space for new attitudes to take root and grow.
– Paulette Steve

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
– Albert Einstein

Bhava is a Sanskrit word that means “feeling” or “attitude ” or “conviction ” about yourself……Any time you decide to focus on forgiveness instead of anger, or look at a situation from someone else’s perspective, or own your own good qualities instead of brooding about your failings, you discover the power of bhava to transform your experience.
– Sally Kempton

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.
– Brené Brown

Just live that life. It doesn’t matter whether it is life or hell, life of the hungry ghost, life of the animal, it’s okay; just live that life, see. And as a matter of fact no other way. Where you stand, where you are, that’s what your life is right there, regardless of how painful it is or how enjoyable it is. That’s what it is.
– Taizan Maezumi

I say, “Oh, I love you,” when actually what I am saying is that in your presence and through our exchange I am touching that place in me where love lives, I am touching that experience of connecting to what is true about me, about this life, about our experience together.
– Mary Morrissey

How many thousands of poems
have flowed through me tonight!
And tomorrow I won’t be able
to repeat even one word.
– Su Tung-P’Ob

I think the earth itself is rather resistant to routine.
– Rebecca West

You have to surrender to a book.
– Robert Gottlieb

We write out of revenge against reality, to dream and enter into the lives of others.
– Francine du Plessix Gray

The conscious mind is almost entirely housed in the muscles of the eyes.
– Milton Erickson

The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls, but on what kind of person you drop from your chamber into the street every morning.
– Henry David Thoreau

What makes a free thinker is not his beliefs, but the way in which he holds them. If he holds them because his elders told him they were true when he was young, or if he holds them because if he did not he would be unhappy, his thought is not free; but if he holds them because, after careful thought, he finds a balance in their favor, then his thought is free, however odd his conclusions may seem.
– Bertrand Russell

Poetry can be the true news.
– Anne Waldman

…Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.
– D.H. Lawrence

Trungpa Rinpoche used to say the only time people actually meditate is when the bell rings. When the bell rings we actually perk up. We feel simply present and some kind of relief and openness naturally happens. The rest of the time we’re mostly thinking about food, having a sexual fantasy, feeling resentful about our life, figuring out ways to edit and manipulate the meditation technique itself, or just thinking random, mysterious thoughts!

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
– Elbert Hubbard

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.
– Jalaluddin Rumi

No one told me by David Whyte

No one told me
it would lead to this.
No one said
there would be secrets
I would not want to know.

No one told me about seeing,
seeing brought me
loss and a darkness I could not hold.

No one told me about writing
or speaking.
Speaking and writing poetry
I unsheathed the sharp edge
of experience that led me here.

No one told me
it could not be put away.
I was told once, only,
in a whisper,
“The blade is so sharp—
It cuts things together
—not apart.”

This is no comfort.
My future is full of blood,
from being blindfold,
hands outstretched,
feeling a way along its firm edge.

The Time Before Death

Friend? hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think… and think… while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time
before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten —
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next
life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest
that does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

– Kabir/Bly

We are not trying to polish up our ego
and make a new, bright, spiritual ‘me.’
Really, we have to be skillful in our practice
so that our practice does not intensify and solidify
the very thing which it is designed to dissolve.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Whomever or whatever it is in your life
that has taught you more about love than anything else~

to whomever or whatever that is for you
give your constant,
undying living thanksgiving…

because

whomever or whatever that is~

(do you know who or what it is? )

is without doubt the most important
blessing of your life

~ Belle Heywood

How long must I endure their need to fill
with talk the natural silence?
[…]
And yet beneath their words
I have discerned a kind of rough-hewn fear.
From drawing rooms and formal gardens
they come to me, from sunlit lives they enter
the chill, grand and instantaneous night.

– Davis McCombs

I am a deep lover of creation stories, of understanding myths, because when we know where we come from, when we’re in our tribe and the tribe understands where they come from, and we step over the thresholds of our life into adulthood in a tribe, we learn who we are and our place in the tribe: We have story.
– Lila Sophia Tresemer

We need a path of radical transformation, and there’s no question in my mind that the bodhisattva path is it.
– Mushim Ikeda

It’s not enough to help others. You have to take care of yourself too.
– Mushim Ikeda

To tangle
or untangle the willow
it’s up to the wind
– Chiyo-ni

Fading

Imagine
where this dove will go
when her wings turn grey
when her call grows old.
Will she turn to the mirrors of young sparrows
to slide into delusion,
or will a deaf window offer her a perch to sing?
How will she apologise to a traveller
wanting to stroke her feathers
when the flock scatters?
How will she strut through the courtyard
or impress the grass?
Will she look for a kind boy
to grind her a grain of wheat
or an old flame
to relight ageing passions?
Perhaps she will divide her sadness
between a window and a metal cage.
Perhaps she’ll become a professional mourner
at the funerals of birds.
Imagine
where this dove will go
when the trees donate her their lowest branch
and when neighbours are indifferent to her past.

– Abboud Al Jabiri

We always tend to keep within ourselves threshold reactions such as a little doubt, or a little impulse not to do something. If the impulses are not very strong we are inclined to put them aside in a one-sided way and by this we have hurt an animal or a spirit within us.
– Marie Louise Von Franz

It is only by stepping purposefully into the conversation, stretching beyond our simplest and most contemptuous assumptions, and being willing to hear even what hurts that we will learn anything. – Rabbi Sharon Brous

Practice until you see yourself in the cruellest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being.
If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Our lives are not for us alone. We are here to grow something that feeds others.
– Parker J. Palmer

My greatest challenge is to live the daily life. To create a life that is aware, when all of us fall into unconsciousness all the time. To bring some modicum of consistency, of heart and caring, to every moment… To be available to bring beauty through, or bring awareness through… To open the eyes, to open the heart, to feel compassion on a regular basis. To strip myself down to wherever I have to go.
– Deena Metzger

Style is not what keeps us going. We survive by virtue of people extending themselves, welcoming the young, showing sympathy for the suffering, taking pleasure in each other’s good fortune. We are here for a brief time. We would like our stay to mean something. Do the right thing. Travel light. Be sweet.
– Garrison Keillor

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.
– Brené Brown

Learn your theories well but put them aside when you confront the mystery of the living soul.
– Carl Jung

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
– Dalai Lama

The most insightful moments are often when both sadness and clarity feel equally present.
– Ethan Nichtern

…I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eye,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

– David Whyte

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.
– Maya Angelou

What plant can grow if you keep lifting it
from the soil?
Let your roots expand unchecked into a vista,
a forest, a river, a song, or some verse you can
hold tenderly.
You need to become quiet for this, as roots
work in silence beneath the earth’s silhouettes.
Let all your senses extract from me what
they can. So mineral-rich I am,
having drawn all a soul ever could from what
is above, below and to the side, and within us,
within us my love.
♡ A Year with Hafiz ♡

The eyes of the future are looking back at us,
and they are praying
that we might see beyond our own time.
They are kneeling with hands clasped
that we might act with restraint,
that we might leave room for the life
that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wildness we fear
is the pause between our own heart beats,
the silent space that says we live only by grace
wildness, wilderness lives by this same grace,
wild mercy is in our hands.
Let this be our prayer, reimagined.
– Terry Tempest Williams

I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.

– Brené Brown

But I fear my story fatigues you––I would like to learn––Could you tell me how to grow––or is it unconveyed––like Melody––or Witchcraft?
– Emily Dickinson

First thing in the morning, do not rush off to work, but take down your musical instrument and play it. Then test your work in the same way. If there is no music in it, then set it aside, and go find what has music in it again.
– Kabir

Don’t just be who you are and what you are. Move, evolve, change, grow and become better each day.
– Namdak Choeying

GURU RINPOCHE, THE LOTUS BORN

Whatever actions you engage in, do not do anything
nondharmic that fails to become the accumulation of merit and wisdom.
Do not desire anything other than omniscient buddhahood and benefiting sentient beings.

Do not be attached to anything. Attachment itself is the root of bondage.

Do not criticize other teachings and do not disparage people. All the teachings are ultimately indivisible, like the taste of salt.

Do not criticize any of the higher or lower vehicles. They are identical in being the path to be journeyed, just like the steps on a staircase.
You cannot know another person unless you can perceive with superknowledge.
So do not criticize others.

In general, all sentient beings are by their very nature spontaneously perfect buddhas. They possess the essence of enlightenment. Do not examine other people’s faults or delusions.

Do not examine the limitations of others. Examine how you can change your own.

Do not examine the shortcomings of others but examine your own shortcomings.

The greatest of evils is to hold religious prejudice and to criticize other people
without knowing their mind. So give up prejudice as if it were poison.

But we are more alike my friends, than we are unlike.
– Maya Angelou

I think the difficulty is this fragmentation.. All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet… Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.
– David Bohm

Eventually we realize that not knowing what to do is just as real and just as useful as knowing what to do. Not knowing stops us from taking false directions. Not knowing what to do, we start to pay real attention. Just as people lost in the wilderness, on a cliff face or in a blizzard pay attention with a kind of acuity that they would not have if they thought they knew where they were. Why? Because for those who are really lost, their life depends on paying real attention. If you think you know where you are, you stop looking.
– David Whyte

The single biggest problem in communication
is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Bernard Shaw

When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver. And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up, like the words of glass speaking. Then there comes a point when you must shatter the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.
– Anne Spollen

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
– Isaac Asimov

And the geese are above our window.
Oh, what is it about that sound? Talking in the sky,
Bell-like words, but only remotely bell-like,
A language of many and strange tones above us
In the night at the change of seasons, talking unseen,
An expressiveness—is that it? Expressiveness
Intact and with no meaning? Yet we respond,
Our minds make an answering, though we cannot
Articulate it. How great the unintelligible
Meaning! Our lost souls flying over. The talk
Of the wild geese in the sky. It is there. It is so.
– Hayden Carruth

I’m sitting here inland,
stuck deep in the memory
of what it is I’m missing.
– Christopher DeWeese

This moment-made & the mackerel-“soul”
caught flashing inside the brief moment of the body’s net,
then, whoosh, back into the sea of space.
– Aracelis Girmay

I was here before once. I can tell by the way the breeze scurries by, patting my cheek as it does so. O solemn breeze! You are the one thing I wanted to have happen to me, the only thing that matters in this concrete canyon of years, so why can’t I get close to you?
– John Ashbery

These starry nights alone and connected alive at the edge
the sky, the moon, the many heavenly forms
the sheer vertical act of feeling caught up in it.
To be held tight, wound tighter in the act of seeing
the gemstone brushstrokes in rays and shimmers.
The night sky, the deep sense of space, actual bodies of light
and the toil and worry and animal fear always with us
wondrous and strange companion to all our days.
To wonder and to dream and to look up at it
to go out underneath it all above and sparkling
to step into it as into a large surf in late August.
 – Peter Gizzi

Perhaps that’s what I feel, an outside and an inside and me in the middle, perhaps that’s what I am, the thing that divides the world in two, on the one side the outside, on the other the inside, that can be as thin as foil, I’m neither one side nor the other, I’m in the middle, I’m the partition, I’ve two surfaces and no thickness, perhaps that’s what I feel, myself vibrating, I’m the tympanum, on the one hand the mind, on the other the world, I don’t belong to either.
– Samuel Beckett

So that became actually perhaps the most pivotal point in, I don’t know, the landscape of my life, that dance with despair, to see how we are called to not run from the discomfort and not run from the grief or the feelings of outrage or even fear and that, if we can be fearless, to be with our pain, it turns. It doesn’t stay static. It only doesn’t change if we refuse to look at it. But when we look at it, when we take it in our hands, when we can just be with it and keep breathing, then it turns. It turns to reveal its other face, and the other face of our pain for the world is our love for the world, our absolutely inseparable connectedness with all life.
– Joanna Macy

One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters; that’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing. But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But be drunk!
– Charles Baudelaire

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity
– Robert Bly, The Kabir Book

The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilised community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together.
– Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
– Confucius

My favorite definition of mythology: other people’s religion. My favorite definition of religion: misunderstanding of mythology. The misunderstanding consists in the reading of the spiritual mythological symbols as though they were primarily references to historical events. Localized provincial readings separate the various religious communities. Remythologization––recapturing the mythological meaning––reveals a common spirituality of mankind.
– Joseph Campbell

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
– Albert Einstein

Our greatest experiences are our quietest moments.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Language has unmistakably made plain that memory is not an instrument for exploring the past, but rather a medium. It is the medium of that which is experienced, just as the earth is the medium in which ancient cities lie buried. He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. Above all, he must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the ‘matter itself’ is no more than the strata which yield their long-sought secrets only to the most meticulous investigation. That is to say, they yield those images that, severed from all earlier associations, reside as treasures in the sober rooms of our later insights
– Walter Benjamin

And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform.
– Thomas Merton

…The kindness of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
– John O’Donohue

I wanted to ask you about your vision of perfection in an imperfect world, or what side of the earth calls out to you when you touch a physical globe, or maybe about your greatest heartache and how you still go on as your world continues turning, or what you do with a memory once lodged inside your bones that’s still breathing, and burning. But you’re still a stranger, and I’m overly polite, so I’ll ask all about your day when I’d rather know about your life.
– Victoria Erickson

My First Love
My first love was silence.
I built myself from scratch
and no one listened.
This was the best time of my life.
I used to carry the clothes
to the laundry room
and pray for all the fog
in the world to surround me.
I’d let my thoughts
catch rides
with passing airplanes.
All that womanhood
caught in the roof
of my mouth
was like honey.
I knew it would never
go bad
so I never said a word
about it.
– Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives.
– Jim Morrison

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
– Walt Whitman

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody—no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.
– Neil Gaiman

An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.
– Stephen Fry

A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.
– Morgan Matson

educating our young—not only in the sciences, but also the arts—cannot, dare not, be neglected. If our children are unable to say what they mean, no one will know how they feel; if they cannot imagine different worlds, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points.
– Rita Dove

Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
– John Updike

A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.
– Laura Gilpin

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice
– Louise Glück

A wise man once told me a parable about our times.

When you first see a someone you know in the far distance walking towards you’re not sure it’s them. You wonder. They get nearer and although you’re still not sure you’re becoming more convinced it is your friend. The gait is similar, the height, the overall shape but you still can’t be sure because they’re still too far away. Finally the person is near enough for you to say, with absolute certainty, yes it’s them.
– M.N.

Most of the time we go through the day, through our activities, our work, our relationships, our conversations, and very rarely do we ground ourselves in an awareness of our bodies. We are lost in our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our stories, our plans.

Pay attention to those times when you feel like you are rushing. Rushing does not have to do with speed. You can rush moving slowly, and you can rush moving quickly. We are rushing when we feel we are toppling forward. Our minds run ahead of ourselves; they are out there where we want to get to, instead of being settled back in our bodies. The feeling of rushing is good feedback. Whenever we are not present, right then, in that situation, we should stop and take a few breaths. Settle into the body again. Feel yourself sitting. Feel the step of a walk. Be in your body.

The Buddha made a very powerful statement about this: “Mindfulness of the body leads to nirvana.” Such awareness is not a superficial practice. Mindfulness of the body keeps us present.
 – Joseph Goldstein

Silence is the matrix from which word is born, the home to which word returns through understanding. Word (in contrast to chatter) does not break the silence. In a genuine word, silence comes to word. In genuine understanding, word comes home into silence. For those who know only the world of words, silence is mere emptiness. But our silent heart knows the paradox: the emptiness of silence is inexhaustibly rich; all the words in the world are merely a trickle of its fullness.
– Br David Steindl-Rast

The noble art of losing face / may one day save the human race / and turn into eternal merit / what weaker minds would call disgrace.
– Piet Hein

The eyes of the future are looking back at us,
and they are praying
that we might see beyond our own time.
They are kneeling with hands clasped
that we might act with restraint,
that we might leave room for the life
that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wildness we fear
is the pause between our own heart beats,
the silent space that says we live only by grace
wildness, wilderness lives by this same grace,
wild mercy is in our hands.
Let this be our prayer, reimagined.

– Terry Tempest Williams

I find scriptures engraved in my heart.
Sutras write themselves in the dust as I walk.
Winged prayers sing from the trees as I pass.
I bow to all of this and more, as I take another breath of holy air.
Life is blessed.
Even when it looks like hell, I remember…
Life is blessed.
– Kashyapi Ando

Do I dare trust memory’s directions? Or is this the first
And most damning despair, that it all may be nothing
But dots, biochemical flashes, swampgas waverings
Of imaginary light, the meaning of this landscape
Of ashes simply being that I have to wonder
What it means, and thereby recall myself?
– T. R. Hummer

… I can’t quite shake the astonishment. I can’t quite believe what my life keeps teaching me, that material existence is a thin veil thrown over a foundation of miracles so numerous and profound we almost invariably overlook them.
– Martha Beck

When the mind is very quiet,
completely still,
when there is not a movement
of thought and therefore no experience,
no observer, then that very stillness
has its own creative understanding.
In that stillness the mind is
transformed into something else.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to pause. Few things are so pressing that they cannot wait for a moment of breath.
– T.K.V. Desikachar

Where the ego insists that the world should be different, the spirit seeks to see the world differently. Only then does the world really change.
– Marianne Williamson

Who are we and whom do we talk to when we are alone? Who do we summon to our sides when solitariness overtakes us? Who hears us, even when we don’t cry out?
– Emmet Gowin

That was the moment the knowledge descended into my heart and I understood. Really understood. Crises, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping –they aren’t voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times as beckoning us to a season of waiting, to the place of fertile emptiness.
– Sue Monk Kidd

I have a firm belief in this now, not only in terms of my own experience, but in knowing the experiences of other people. When you follow your bliss, and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it, and doing what the push is out of your own existence—it may not be fun, but it’s your bliss and there’s bliss behind pain too.
You follow that and doors will open where there were no doors before, where you would not have thought there’d be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anybody else.
. . . And so I think the best thing I can say is to follow your bliss. If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement, you’re on the wrong track. I mean, you need instruction. Know where your bliss is. And that involves coming down to a deep place in yourself.
– Joseph Campbell

If a man knows not his own soul, which is the nearest thing to him, what is the use of his claiming to know others?
– Sufi Saying

Beauty appears when something is completely and absolutely and openly itself.
– Deena Metzger

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.
– Leo Tolstoy

A Few Words on the Soul

We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

Sometimes
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky,
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds.
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

Some emotional problems are due to the uninteresting, self-absorbed and unconscious lives we lead.
– Thomas Moore

WHOEVER you are: In the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their tiredness

barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,

you very slowly lift one black tree 

and place it against the sky: slender, alone. 

And you have made the world; and it is huge 

and like a word that goes on ripening in silence.

And as your will seizes on its meaning,

tenderly your eyes let it go . . .
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Poem
BY THOMAS MCGRATH

I don’t belong in this century—who does?
In my time, summer came someplace in June—
The cutbanks blazing with roses, the birds brazen, and the astonished
Pastures frisking with young calves . . .
                                                          That was in the country—
I don’t mean another country, I mean in the country:
And the country is lost. I don’t mean just lost to me,
Nor in the way of metaphorical loss—it’s lost that way too—
No; nor in no sort of special case: I mean
Lost.

Now, down below, in the fire and stench, the city
Is building its shell: elaborate levels of emptiness
Like some sea-animal building toward its extinction.
And the citizens, unserious and full of virtue,
Are hunting for bread, or money, or a prayer,
And I behold them, and this season of man, without love.

If it were not a joke, it would be proper to laugh.
—Curious how that rat’s nest holds together—
Distracting . . .
                      Without it there might be, still,
The gold wheel and the silver, the sun and the moon,
The season’s ancient assurance under the unstable stars
Our fiery companions . . .
                                     And trees, perhaps, and the sound
Of the wild and living water hurrying out of the hills.

Without these, I have you for my talisman:
Sun, moon, the four seasons,
The true voice of the mountains. Now be
(The city revolving in its empty shell,
The night moving in from the East)
—Be thou these things.

If I wrote your name into my heart
If I wrote your name
into my heart
Would you stay

without getting

bored

If I etched you int
o
my being

Would you take me

from myself?
If I turned into
smoke flowing
towards you
Would you find each
and every speck?
If I wrote songs in
your name
Would you be a
string on my
instrument
If I wrapped you in
stars
Would you glimmer into
my eyes?
If I wrote pages
asking about you
Would you examine
every line?
If I took you into
dreams
Would you steal your
image from me?
If I loved you more
than myself
Would you nurture
that love?
If you were the sea
and I a fish
If you were a bird
and I could find you
If you were air and
I could take you
Would you make me
happy?
If you were the
voice on my lips
The beauty in my
eyes
The picture in my
dreams
Would you stay in
that moment forever?
– Can Yucel

I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I
want to write about today is the sea. It contains so
many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue
in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will
turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of
clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight
are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls
drag over it like beads. // It is my favorite thing, I
think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself
staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough
to contain everything anyone could ever feel.
– Anthony Doerr, from All The Light We Cannot See

The most extraordinary discoveries are made when the
artist is overwhelmed by what he has to say.
– Boris Pasternak

Chogyam Trungpa ~ “The way of cowardice is to embed ourselves in a cocoon, in which we perpetuate our habitual patterns. When we are constantly recreating our basic patterns of habits and thought, we never have to leap into fresh air or onto fresh ground.” ~ Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd. The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible. nostalgia for what never was, the desire for what could have been, regret over not being someone else, dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
– Fernando Pessoa

When anything has become habitual to the soul it soon grows natural,
and when it has grown natural it becomes a veil.
– Al Hujwiri
*
In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits.
– Walter Pater

We must shift our allegiances from fear to curiosity, from attachment to letting go, from control to trust, and from entitlement to humility.
– Angeles Arrien

and many suns
.
in every timeworn face I see,
subtly hidden ∙ sometimes clear ∙
a fading flame of forlorn youth,
the wick drawn down by tears and fear –
beneath the gauzy mask of age
a flickering, fleeting light still yearns
to feed bright passion ∙ flash to flame ∙
to feel ebullient joy return –
what drains sweet mania from our hearts
and draws our wondering light so low?
like bonzai pruned and cruelly bound
our once-wild limbs are forced to bow –
tempestuous waves of pure delight
become a blue, obedient sea
and many suns set one by one
till less and less the eye can see –
forsaking each our wild-born ways ∙
conspiring with our spirit’s thieves,
we flutter to the forest floor
to curl and dry like autumn leaves
– E.M.

I see you sitting there,
solid as Mount Meru,
calm as my own breath,
sitting as though
no raging fire storm ever
occured,
sitting in complete peace and
freedom.

– Thich Nhat Hahn

Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself- it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

If the traveller can find
A virtuous and wise companion
Let him go with him joyfully
And overcome the dangers of the way.
– Buddha

Foolish people hold their practice as if it belonged to someone else, wise people practice with everyone as themselves.
– Dogen Zenji

Often times, a person will think they know you by piecing together tiny facts and arranging those pieces into a puzzle that makes sense to them. If we don’t know ourselves very well, we’ll mistakenly believe them, and drift toward where they tell us to swim, only to drown in our own confusion.
Here’s the truth: it’s important to take the necessary steps to find out who you are. Because you hold endless depths below the surface of a few facts and pieces and past decisions. You aren’t only the ripples others can see. You are made of oceans.
– Victoria Erickson

There is always another life in the corner of our eyes, one that begins because our poor words have never said what we meant at the time.
– Richard Jackson

Have good trust in yourself… not in the one that you think you should be, but in the One that you are.
– Taizan Maezumi Rosh

Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire.
[…]
I have never believed that poetry is an escape from history, and I do not think it is more, or less, necessary than food, shelter, health, education, decent working conditions. It is as necessary.
[…]
Where every public decision has to be justified in the scales of corporate profits, poetry unsettles these apparently self-evident propositions — not through ideology, but by its very presence and ways of being, its embodiment of states of longing and desire.
– Adrienne Rich

When we look into ourselves, we tend to fixate on our neurosis, restlessness, and aggression. Or we might fixate on how wonderful, accomplished, and invulnerable we are, but those feelings are usually superficial, covering up our insecurities.Take a look.There is something else, something more than all that.We are willing: willing to wait, willing to smile, willing to be decent. We shouldn’t discount that potential, that powerful seed of gentleness.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Dedicate your life to being a purveyor of love, and mystical companions will appear on your path – to collaborate, encourage, and guide you.
– Marianne Williamson

Time is a precious thing. Never waste it…
– Gene Wilder

What you have by heart, no one can touch. They cannot take it from you. Consider the example of a Russian woman who was a teacher of English Romantic literature in the University in Kazakhstan. It was the Brezhnev years, relatively less hellish than Stalin, but still hell. She was imprisoned, with no light, on some trumped up charge, for three years, in solitary. Now, in Russia, for reasons I am not wholly competent to judge, Byron’s Don Juan has canonic presence. It’s regarded, maybe justly, as one of the transcendent achievements. This young woman knew it, thirty or thirty-four thousand lines by heart. And in the dark she dictated to herself a Russian verse translation. She lost her sight. But when she emerged, she dictated her translation, which is now the classic one in Russian. There is nothing you can do to a human being who is like that. No state can touch this. No despair can touch it. What you don’t know by heart, you really haven’t loved deeply enough. The poetry of Mandelstam, you remember, survived when Nadezhda, after the death of the poet, had ten people, no more, learning one of the poems. That was enough. There were no copies, and the KGB could do nothing. As long as ten people know a poem, it will live. Ben Johnson had the wonderful word for it, which we have lost: to ingest the text, to internalize it in the viscera of your spirit. The culture decays in precise proportion to its neglect, or suppression of memorization.
– George Steiner

We do not need for people to become Buddhists, nor do they need to believe in a former and future life etc. but if we can provide them with Buddha’s Teachings to enrich their lives, make them more happy, patient, peaceful, giving, loving, more ethical, more other oriented —that is what your should focus your efforts on!
– Geshe Wangyal

Although the number of koan is said to be only one thousand seven hundred, actually the mountains and rivers, the great earth, the grasses and trees, the forests – whatever is seen by the eyes, whatever is heard by the ears -all of these are koan.
– Nampo Jomyo

Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?
– Lawrence Durrell

This is the true joy in life: being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.
– George Bernard Shaw

This strangely still pause between summer and autumn, greenery and gold, and the heat and rising wind that is once again readying itself to rush it all away in a climactic symphony of colour and scent is – in my opinion, one of the best parts of living on Earth.
– Victoria Erickson

A MILLION SHADES
The soft, warm, gentle touch,
when late Summer meets early Autumn,
nothing can compare,
nothing can equal,
this wondrous, beautiful union,
when a tired, slumbering Summer,
and the awakening, boisterous Autumn,
unite,
and a soft, warm breeze,
blows a single leaf,
floating down,
the fore runner of millions,
golden and russet,
soft and brittle,
crisp and crunchy,
a carpet of a million shades,
a patch-work blanket,
to gently fall,
and sleep upon the land.
– Ambrose Harte

[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
– Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

Come, be human. Sit down and let’s talk.
– William Stafford

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Say you have seen something. You have seen an ordinary bit of what is real, the infinite fabric of time that eternity shoots through, and time’s soft-skinned people working and dying under slowly shifting stars. Then what?
– Annie Dillard

If we don’t have reference to a real path, then we may try to customize the spiritual path. A real path interrupts our ego, while one that we customize only prolongs our self-deception. We need to be interested in that interruption if we want to wake up.
The Middle Way teachings are all about interruption.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope?-so much is in bud.
– Denise Levertov

True belonging is hospitable to difference for it knows that genuine identity can only emerge from the real conversation between self and otherness. There can be no true self without embrace of the other.
– John O’Donohue

My life keeps sliding out from under me, intact but
Diminishing,
                       its pattern becoming patternless,
The blue abyss of everyday air
Breathing it in and breathing it out,
        in little clouds like smoke,
In little wind strings and threads.
– Charles Wright

Wherever you go, send your love before you. It will envelop the situation in Light.
– Marianne Williamson

Let me listen to me and not to them.
– Gertrude Stein

We might think we know what we are in the service of, but if we stopped just once and day to ask what we were really doing at that moment, we’d be humbled. Taking up any small task and doing it with full attention, for its own sake, with gentleness and kindness will illuminate the day.
– Gunilla Norris

When most empty, we’re most able to be filled anew. Our eyes open wide to the vastness of life’s horizon. Then, our world having become as spare and clear as the open desert, we can, at long last, behold that one feathered gift settling down softly before us on the untrammeled earth.
– Bill Plotkin

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.
– Nikola Tesla

To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
– Mark Nepo

The principle of art is to pause, not bypass.
– Jerzy Kosinski

My imagination can picture no fairer happiness than to continue living for art.
– Clara Schumann

I like to live in my own mind.
– T.C. Boyle

Maybe solitude is best had in the midst of multitudes.
– William Goyen

My imagination came alive when I moved away from the immediate world around me.
– Kazuo Ishiguro

I never wanted to be a poet. I wanted to be a spaceman.
– Eileen Myles

I think a writer’s life is the ideal life.
– P. G. Wodehouse

Lean forward into your life…catch the best bits and the finest wind. Just tip your feathers in flight a wee bit and see how dramatically that small lean can change your life.
– Mary Anne Radmacher

In one of his insightful talks Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that in your practice you should walk like an elephant.

It means to move at a comfortable pace. No rushing toward a goal. No push to make it all meaningful. The sometimes inscrutable texts of Taoism and Zen teach that it’s important to do what you do without trying to accomplish anything.

You don’t have to get anywhere. There are no goals and objectives: nothing to succeed in, and nothing in which to fail. You can sit in your house, as Thoreau did, and be attentive – his suggestion. “We are surrounded by a rich and fertile mystery. May we not probe it, pry into it, employ ourselves about it – a little? . . . If by watching all day and all night I may detect some trace of the Ineffable, then will it not be worth the while to watch?”
– Thomas Moore

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

It is your duty in life to save your dream.
– Amedeo Modigliani

I shun the straight roads
Well worn paths lead to no truth
I’d rather wander
– Kitt Rom

However much we are affected by the things of the world, however deeply they may stir and stimulate us, they become human for us only when we can discuss them with our fellows. We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.
– Hannah Arendt

Where are you hurrying to? you will see the same moon tonight wherever you go!
– Izumi Shikibu

every day
the doors are open
to the moon

don’t close them too soon

these are not ordinary doors
– Belle Heywood

Karen Armstrong in considering the proper meaning of the Golden Rule, “asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.”

Poetry can heal others’ hearts, even if it is just for a few minutes.
– Juan Felipe Herrera

Words are the wildest, freest, most irresponsible, most un-teachable of all things…It is because the truth they try to catch is many-sided, and they convey it by being themselves many-sided, flashing this way, then that.
– Virginia Woolf

Love is something else entire: it is caring. It is arguing, but with curiosity—it is giving an inch when the other is certainly wrong—it is teasing, it is empathy, it is respect, it is admiration each morning.
– Waylon Lewis

The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life.
– Jung

All through our gliding journey, on this day as on so many others, a little song runs through my mind. I say a song because it passes musically, but it is really just words, a thought that is neither strange nor complex. In fact, how strange it would be not to think it – not to have such music inside one’s head and body, on such an afternoon. What does it mean, say the words, that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?
– Mary Oliver

You need to know at least one foreign language well enough so that you can read the best literature that that language has produced in the original, and so you carry on a reasonable conversation and have dreams in that language. There are several reasons why this is crucial, but the most important is perhaps this: you can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
– John Searle

You may wish to memorize this gatha to help yourself with mindful speech.

“Words can travel thousands of miles.
May my words create mutual understanding and love.
May they be as beautiful as gems, as lovely as flowers.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Whenever I have found myself stuck in the ways I relate to things, I return to nature. It is my principal teacher, and I try to open my whole being to what it has to say.
– Wynn Bullock

Finding a work to which we can dedicate ourselves always calls for some kind of courage, some form of heartfelt participation. It needs courage because the intrinsic worth of work lies in the fact that it connects us to larger, fiercer worlds where we are forced to remember first priorities.
– David Whyte

Rudenėja
(v) The way nature and/or the weather begins to feel like autumn.

The word is Lithuanian in origin.

There is a bird I wish I knew; at dawn
it sings three notes, just while the day is born,
a falling cadence, sad, and yet it stirs
delight in me intense almost past bearing.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

I go to the movies as I’d go to the dawn,
and the triumphs there, the things that are brought to light,
the large, sad lives of people not so different
from me, their stories heard
through a tumbler held to the ear
and seen through a gauze of falling sand—
these are my triumphs; I am brought to light.
– Denis Johnson

This body’s like a bubble, floating on a stream,
Our very breathing like a candle in the wind.
Those best friends of ours, they seem like children of the gods,
But once we’ve left them behind, they can never be by our side again.
We may have stacked up wealth and possessions the size of a mountain,
But not even a single needle can we carry with us.
– Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro

If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.
– John Steinbeck

Being seriously involved in an art connects your dream, deeply interior world with your active life.
– Thomas Moore

I’ve been destroying, destroying, destroying myself in longing for poetic truth…
– Edgar Allan Poe

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
– Helen Keller

There is another world,
but it is in this one.
– Paul Eluard

For what is a poem but a hazardous attempt at self-understanding: it is the deepest part of autobiography.
– Robert Penn Warren

Come, faeries, take me out of this dull house!
Let me have all the freedom I have lost;
Work when I will and idle when I will!

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,

For I would ride with you upon the wind,

Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,

And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- William Butler Yeats

So much of our experience is dictated by our own attitude and perspective. The Buddhist teachings, and the Shambhala teachings in particular, are meant to be shorthand for uplifting our individual mentality. If you work in an office, for instance, you could convert it into a sacred world, right on the spot. The key is how we connect to it. Our attitude and awareness transforms the situation right on the spot.
– David Nichtern

The Cape
by Martha Tilston
The cape, the coastal path, the waves crashing,
under our feet subsawning shaking cliff
we climb over the rocks and scrape our skin
Didn’t I say I’d love you ’til the caves fall in,
Didn’t I say I’d love you ’til the caves fall in.
Well I love you still and life is long,
I love you still and life is long,
I love you still and life is long,
I love you still and life is long.
Its late the sea is turning kind of indigo,
And all of the tourists climb back up the hill so cold
they take with them their windbreaks
and bright stripes and plastic and sawnies.
Now there is only you and I and the pagan sea. You know this is the first place I felt my soul get free.
We were so young then and now… the sea is so ready.
Well I love you still and life is long,
I love you still and life is long,
I love you still and life is long,
Look, I love you still and life is long.
I’m moving through there’s something wrong,
away from you I don’t belong

Firewood
by Martha Tilston
Thick, thick fog is rolling in.
I’m invisible.
I like it a lot here.
All the lights on the ships are barely breaking through.
My God, it’s beautiful.
What is this I’m going through?
I may be gone for a while
I think I’ll go for a while.
I must away for a while,
Collecting fire wood.
When I return my arms will be full.
When I return my arms will be full.
When I return my arms will be full
Of fire wood,
Of fire wood.
I’ll only be gone for a while.
I need to find my smile.
When I return my arms will be full
Of fire wood,
Of fire wood.

The very survival of our body requires the affection of others.
– Dalai Lama

In the meditative tradition, the emphasis is continually on balancing the forces of concentration and insight, as if the stabilization of the former allows one to withstand the destabilization of the latter.
– Mark Epstein

Kristeva tells us that ‘beauty emerges as the admirable face of loss, transforming it in order to make it live’. The process of engaging in a creative practice can facilitate the emergence of preverbal memories of loss that have profoundly affected an individual or an entire culture. The intersection between memory and image reveals a synthesis between expression and healing, both individually and collectively, where, through the process of memory and reflection, we are able, over time, to reconsider the woundings that have left their marks upon us, and ultimately, re-imagine their purpose in our lives. – Lynlee Lyckberg

I believe one of the jobs of poetry is to allow readers to discover different and more complex ways of engaging experience, including the experience of their own inner lives…And it’s my hope that pleasure and intense sensation and a shock of strangeness will be part of how they get there.
– Karen Volkman

Here at the end of summer
the heart talks to itself,
a thin stream braiding
over a lip of rock.

To go through a wall, then another –
galleries of silent, stone-ground light.
To go through, to that third room on the other side,
to empty the forest of your thoughts, the forest of your lungs,
this is where the heart goes in late summer,
the empty forest. Even the sunlight is alone.

In the third room, the heart sits on the floor
talking to itself. A little stream,
braiding over a lip of rock.
It is saying what it has said
from the beginning, no doors, no windows,
if anyone could hear.
 – Jan Zwicky

The artists: the poets, musicians, painters, dancers make art from truth. Art that forges new paths, new insight, inspiration comes from the raw stuff floating in the connections between humans, animals, plants, stars, all life. Poets are the talk-singers, we find our art in the space between the words. There is where the truth lies.
– Joy Harjo

Religion isn’t about believing things. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.
– Karen Armstrong

For a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life. She was here on earth to absorb its wild enchantment.
– Boris Pasternak

What one person calls a ‘thought leader’ is what another person calls an effective imitator. What we need, more than ever, are original ideas or, at the least, original ways of communicating old ideas. Here’s to those who are devoting their energy and time to painstakingly and persistently stoking the fires of creation. The true artists among us. They may be our only hope.
– Jeff Brown

…I’m going to be alone with
myself, to feel how it feels
to embrace what my feet
tell my head, what wind says
in my good ear. I mean to let
myself be embraced, to let go
feeling so centripetally old.
Do I know where I’m going?
I don’t. How long or far
I have no idea. No map. I
said I was going to take
a walk. When I’ll be back
I’m not going to say.
– Philip Booth

Your presence draws me out from vanity
and imagination and opinion.
– Rumi

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

The real work is becoming native in your heart, coming to understand we really live here, that this is really the continent we’re on, and that our loyalties are here, to these mountains and rivers, to these plant zones, to these creatures. The real work involves a loyalty that goes back…billions of years. The real work is accepting citizenship in the earth itself.
– Gary Snyder

I came to poetry because I felt I couldn’t live properly in the real world. I was thirteen and in Algebra class. That was the day I decided I would be a poet for all time.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
– Novalis

Your love taught me
How to love you in all things
in a bare winter tree,
in dry yellow leaves
in the rain, in a tempest,
in the smallest cafe, we drank in,
in the evenings…our black coffee
Your love taught me…to seek refuge
to seek refuge in hotels without names
in churches without names…
in cafes without names…
Your love taught me…how the night
swells the sadness of strangers…
– Nizar Qabbani

All water is sacred water with the capacity to *read* the environment in which it is contained. All water contains within it the capacity to be restored or *entrained* to its original state as Living Water. Just as humans are also, in both mind and body.
– Chandali Ishta

What we really need is to gather
in the street and talk to each other.
– Rosemerry Whatola Trommer

After Reading an Equation for How to Measure
Gross National Happiness in Bhutan,
I Remember the Day in College When
the math teacher walked through the door
and went straight to the empty blackboard.
He did not say a word, did not look
at the class. He drew a perfect circle.
Then with his back to our eyes,
he began to write the proof for the area
of a circle. His chalk clicked against the emptiness,
filling the space with points x and y and
cos and sin and theta and n and limits and infinity.
The room was cold. The proof was brief
and elegant. He stood back and crossed his arms
over his chest as he stared at the work.
That, he said in a voice both humbled and grand,
is more beautiful than any poem ever written.
Though I could not feel any warmth for the proof,
nor for the man who averted our gaze, I did admire
his reverence, and drew in my notebook
an imperfect circle more like the shape of a peach—
something sweet and golden and soft,
its juice about to spill across the page.
– Rosemerry Whatola Trommer

Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way.
– David Whyte

While thoughts exist, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.
– Cyril Connolly

Let us go as we are: a free woman and loyal friend.
Let us go together on our separate paths.
Let us go as we are, separately and as one.
Nothing causes us pain
–
not the final parting of the doves

nor the cold in our hearts

nor the wind around the church.

All the blossoming almonds were not enough.

Smile, then, so that the almonds will bloom

even more between the butterflies of two dimples.
Soon we shall have another present.
If you look behind you, there is only exile:
your bedroom, the willows in the garden,
the river behind the buildings of glass,
and the cafe of our trysts.
All of them, all, are preparing to go into exile.
– Mahmoud Darwish, We were without a present

The New York Poem
I sit in the dark, not brooding
exactly, not waiting for the dawn
that is just beginning, at six-twenty-one,

in gray October light behind the trees.

I sit, breathing, mind turning on its wheel.

Hayden writes, “What use is poetry
in times like these?” And I suppose
I understand when he says, “A poet
simply cannot comprehend
any meaning in such slaughter.”

Nevertheless, in the grip of horror,
I turn to poetry, not prose,
to help me come to terms—
such as can be— with the lies, murders
and breathtaking hypocrisies

of those who would lead a nation
or a church. “What use is poetry?”
I sat down September twelfth,
two-thousand-one in the Common Era,
and read Rumi and kissed the ground.

And now that millions starve
in the name of holy war? Every war
is holy. It is the same pathetic story
from which we derive
“biblical proportion.”

I hear Pilate’s footsteps ring
on cobblestone, the voice of Joe McCarthy
cursing in the senate, Fat Boy exploding
as the whole sky shudders.
In New York City, the crashes

and subsequent collapses
created seismic waves. To begin to speak
of the dead, of the dying… how
can a poet speak of proportion any more
at all? Yet as the old Greek said,

“We walk on the faces of the dead.”
The dark fall sky grows blue.
Alone among ash and bones and ruins,
Tu Fu and Bashō write the poem.
The last trace of blind rage fades

and a mute sadness settles in,
like dust, for the long, long haul. But if
I do not get up and sing,
if I do not get up and dance again,
the savages will win.

I’ll kiss the sword that kills me if I must.

We can plan, we can care for, tend and respond. But we cannot control.
– Jack Kornfield

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity…
– David Whyte

Chogyam Trungpa ~ “Any perception can connect us to reality properly and fully. What we see doesn’t have to be pretty, particularly; we can appreciate anything that exists. There is some principle of magic in everything, some living quality. Something living, something real, is taking place in everything.” ~ Sacred Path of the Warrior

Inside the river is there a river? –
it could follow slow water the way
the real current follows a stiller
shore. And in your life the life that
hurries could pass, and pass its
open neighbor the earth, and its shore
the sky. To be here, and always to find
places in the current, the dreams
the river has – surely we bubbles
ought to tell about it?

Listen: One of the rooms the river has
after its bridge and its bend in the mountains
is a place waiting for the sun every
afternoon, when the sun dwells
at a slant under a log and finds
that little yellow room and a waterbug
trying to learn circles but never making
one its shadow approves. Miles later
the river tries to recall that dream,
turning with all of its twisting self
that found gravel and found it good.

Just before the ocean that river
turns on its back and side and slowly
invites the world and the air and the sky,
trying to give away everything, everything.
– William Stafford

Spiritual seekers shouldn’t avoid politics; they should be the biggest grown-ups in the room. If love applies anywhere it applies everywhere.
– Marianne Williamson

And the way I feel is the way I write.
– Jose Gonzalez

I would not like to commit to a love affair that distracts either of us from helping this poor, endlessly confused, ungrateful, self-righteous, critical, speedily, shallow yet fundamentally good world.
– Waylon Lewis 

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

Its verses are the liquid, billowy waves, … always moving, always alike in their nature as rolling waves, but hardly are two exactly alike in size or measure (meter), never having the sense of something finished and fixed, always suggesting something beyond.
– Walt Whitman

Stranger, pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!
Search the fading letters finding
Steadfast in the broken binding
All that once was I!
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. Awareness and healing are not always the same thing. I have known many who could name their patterns and issues, almost like they had done a science experiment on their consciousness, but nothing changed because they refused to come back down into their bodies and move their feelings through to transformation. It’s safe up there, above the fray…witnessing the pain body without actually engaging it. Watching it is not the same thing as healing it. This is the great failure of psychoanalytic models if they are not coupled with deep, embodied work. It’s also the failure of spiritual approaches that belittle our stories and confuse dissociation with expansion. You are either in your body, or you aren’t. This is the ‘power of then’- if we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. There is NO substitute for going deep into the unresolved past and working the material through.
– JEFF BROWN

The things I have
are nameless,
old and true;
they may not be named;
few may live and know.
– H.D.

When over this confused book with no beginning
Your innocent eyes are drawn,
You will see the rooted rebellion of years
Has bloomed in the heart of every song.
– Forough Farrokhzad

Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.

Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace,
But I alone am drifting not knowing where I am.
Like a new-born babe before it learns to smile,
I am alone, without a place to go.

Other have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool. Oh, yes! I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright,
But I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever,
But I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea.
Without direction, like the restless wind.

Everyone else is busy,
But I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

The very thing that is potentially destroying us is at the same time waking us up.
– Paul Levy

Returning the Gift:
We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth, gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, the tree that became this page, a bag of rice and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters at full bloom.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

If we want to understand the deep roots of our present ecological and spiritual crisis, we can find them in the loss of three important elements: the feminine image of spirit, the direct shamanic path of communion with spirit through visionary and mystical experience as lived by the great contemplatives of all traditions, and the sacred marriage of the masculine and feminine aspects of the divine.
– Anne Baring

Under deep interrogation it becomes obvious that what we thought was a solid tradition is actually an evolving patchwork of living systems.
– Vincent Horn

Books often change people on a cellular level.
– Kea Marie Wilson

What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named… Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers… And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.
– Mary Oliver

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
– W.H. Auden

Poetry demands, and helps us to imagine, the best of us.
– Linda Gregerson

I cry out for order and find it only in art.
– Helen Hayes

I have this rather comforting idea that any one poem contains all the other poems one has written.
– Kay Ryan

you turn even in sleep to light
– Grace Paley

For the first time in years this light feels better than the winter I’ve been living.
– Abi Cook

To be a poet is to be in direct communication with every part of the world’s action.
– J.H. Prynne

The whole fight is for the conservation of the individual soul.
– Ezra Pound

Use the joy of living to inspire action. Paint a brilliant canvas of a more abundant world, not the dark, dire possibility of extinction.
– Jennifer Mccrea

The voice does go up in a poem. It is an address, even if it is to oneself.
– Derek Walcott

I was a man of the earth, precisely as I had dreamed I would be.
– Jack Kerouac

There will never be a shortage of one inexhaustible thing—plain old life.
– Elizabeth Spencer

I’m always conscious of the visual. I tend to root what I write in the visual, the experiential.
– Luc Sante

The most profound things are inexpressible.
– Jenny Holzer

The more we use language in a way that expresses our thoughts and feelings the more we fall in love with language in our lives.
– Nina Wise

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.
– Paul Strand

I tell my students it’s living tissue we are wanting on the page. The rest is nonsense.
– Barry Hannah

Poems do bring people together.
– William Stafford

How can they not revere what I revere? How is it that my gods are invisible to them?
– Gordon Lish

The most important lesson is also the most ironic.
– Ken Kesey

I like old things. I almost never buy anything new.
– Joy Williams

I do long for the time of no more departures. It has something to do with age probably.
– Heinrich Böll

I’ve spent many years trying to recover a common language that can cross the distance between people.
– Robert Bly

As the eldest child, I often felt hat I belonged more to my parents’ generation than to my own.
– Louise Erdrcih

One must distort one’s own way of life in order to simulate the normal in other lives.
– John Steinbeck

What keeps us from being monsters are the great artists who teach us to love.
– Ken Kesey

It’s an odd thing how willing we are to see divinity in
others, but not in ourselves. This one is enlightened,
that one is cool, the other one is brilliant, but what
about the beautiful being staring at us in the mirror?
Chopped liver? Sub-standard? A big mistake? Seems
kind of crazy, doesn’t it! I somehow imagine that this
world will not become a better place until we see God
in our own two eyes. There he is, looking right back
at us, loving her creation. And then, through our
God-eyes, we can see others for who they are. Not
as projected figures of light, but as fellow beams of
wholeness, perfectly imperfect threads of the eternal
God weave. We’re all reflections of the creator, every
last one of us.
– Jeff Brown

the recovery of play is an essential path for the restoration of human health. as we grow into adulthood we abandon play and replace it with labor. it is not something we can avoid, but it is something we can transform. we often replace the sense of play with the sense of the religious: we enjoy the rituals and ceremonies of religion as they remind us of the sense of wonder and devoted expression we experienced in the games and plays of our childhood. but we are not bound to decrease in plentiful life as we increase in number of years. labor can be transformed from capitalist i-it transactions to dialogical i-thou relationships. we spend the majority of our years engaged in labor, and it is labor therefore the field of practice where our salvations are either plausibly enacted or irremediably frustrated.
– hune margulies

Sabi is the color of a poem – Matsuo Bashô (17th c.)
さびは句の色なり – sabi wa ku no iro nari

HAIKU
~
The white butterfly,
a falling leaf: there are no
orphans in this world
– Clark Strand

Let your throat song be clear
and strong enough
To make an emperor fall full length
suppliant at the door . . .
You that come to birth
and bring the mysteries.
Your voice thunder
makes us happy.
Roar lion of the heart
and tear me open.
– Rumi

I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course.
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Buddha’s followers’ minds dwell in the eight liberations
And the transformations they display are all freely done:
They can manifest many bodies by one body
And can make one body of many bodies.
They can enter fire-concentration in space,
Walking, standing, sitting, and lying, all in the sky,
Producing water from the upper body and fire from the lower,
Or fire from the upper body and water from the lower.
In this way, in the moment of one thought,
They can transform freely in innumerable ways.
They do not fully have great compassion
And do not seek buddhahood for the sake of all beings,
Yet still they can manifest such inconceivable things—
How much more is the power of the great benefactors, the Bodhisattvas!
Like sun and moon traveling through space,
Their lights reflections appearing in all places,
In springs, ponds, reservoirs, and water in vessels,
In jewel-like rivers and seas—they reflect everywhere.
So it is with the forms of bodhisattvas—
They appear everywhere, inconceivably;
This is all the freedom of concentration,
Which only the enlightened can completely realize.
Like the images of four armies in the ocean water,
Each distinct, not merging or mixing,
Their swords, spears, bows and arrows, arer many and diverse,
Their armor, helmets, and chariots are not the same:
Whatever the difference is in the form they have,
All are reflected in the water,
Yet the water itself does not discriminate;
The concentration of bodhisattvas is also like this.
Avatamsaka Sutra – 359, 360

The obsessions we have are pretty much the same our whole lives. Mine are people, the human condition, life.
– Mary Ellen Mark

there is more to her than just
flesh and bone,
rawness and sadness,
love and confusion.
there more to her than what meets the eye.
believe me when I tell you…
when you finally understand her,
you will know,
how some women have more within them
than others
and how some of them should never be tamed. so let her go.
let her spread her wings
and she will always find you in the wild.
the only place where the moon
and the sun collided…
at the very same time.
– R.M. Drake

Here’s a question: who figured out penicillin’s antibacterial qualities?
If you answer Alexander Fleming, I can, following QI, subtract points from your score and make a general hullabaloo. Then if you answer again with other scientists like Florey, Chain, or Heatley, I’ll subtract even more points and make even more of a hullabaloo. At this point you might get frustrated, call me a pedant, and throw out the name of Ernest Duchesne, a French physician who noticed that Arab stable boys at an army hospital intentionally kept their saddles in dark, moist rooms to encourage the growth of mold on them. When asked why, they said the mold helped horses heal more quickly from saddle sores. Duchesne then did some studies, wrote them up, and sent them to the Pasteur Institute, which didn’t even do him the courtesy of acknowledging receipt. But here’s the thing: if you throw out his name, I’ll subtract even more points and make even more of a hullabaloo.


So then let’s say you do some heavy soul searching, and at last you say, “Fine, I get it. I was being racist. The real ones who figured it out were the Arab stable boys.”
I smile and say, “ That’s a very important realization, but you lose ten more points.” Then I make even more hullabaloo.
Surprisingly enough, instead of strangling me, you get up and start pacing the room. Five minutes pass. Ten. Then you turn to me, an intense look in your eyes, and say, “I’ve heard that during the Crusades, soldiers on all sides put moldy bread on their wounds. They discovered it helped their wounds heal. You’ve got to give me those points back now.”
Sadly, this leads to more lost points, and to more hullabaloo. Fortunately, it does not yet lead to you strangling me.
You say, “Oh, now I really get it! I was still being racist, and excluding Indigenous peoples. I’m sure that some of them figured it out.”
“I’m sure you’re right, but you lose ten more points.”

I can see your fingertips quiver as you hold yourself back from forming your hands into claws.
So let’s get to the point. Who discovered penicillin’s antibiotic qualities? Why, fungi did, a very long time ago, when fungi of the genus Penicillium were trying to figure out how to keep pesky bacteria from eating food—humans sometimes call this “spoiling food,” and I’m sure these fungi and bacteria say the same about some of the things we do—before the fungi could get to it. After all, bacteria reproduce a lot faster than fungi. Well, perhaps asked the fungi, what if we just trim their numbers a bit? What if we invent some way to kill the bacteria who try to eat our food? Let them eat some other cantaloupe, not this one. And thus, not only did the fungi invent, but also discover, and indeed figure out, penicillin’s antibacterial qualities. The same is true of nearly all classes of antibiotics: they were originally discovered and put in use by either fungi or other bacteria.

Perhaps this is when you move forward to strangle me. Not for pointing out the human supremacism inherent in the way this question is nearly always asked and answered, but for being so damned annoying about it.
– pp. 145-146 of chapter entitled Narcissism
from “The Myth of Human Supremacy”

I experience Fall as a time of invigoration, new projects and fresh vision. I think it has something to do with an inner harvesting of the fruits of insight gained during the Spring and Summer months. In the Summer, I am hardly ever home – at least mentally, if not physically – for that is the time for moving outward in the spirit of adventure. But in the Autumn, something in me wants to bring all of those insights home. There they will energize all kinds of of fresh and exciting projects.
– Stephen Hatch

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.
– Helen Keller

Further Notice
by Philip Whalen

I can’t live in this world
And I refuse to kill myself
Or let you kill me

The dill plant lives, the airplane
My alarm clock, this ink
I won’t go away

I shall be myself—
Free, a genius, an embarrassment
Like the Indian, the buffalo

Like Yellowstone National Park.

Set your intentions, dream with care.
– Xavier Rudd

No one climbs a mountain accidentally.

Every step is an affirmative choice, a decision to push, to seek, to ascend. It must be wanted, and fiercely.

Questions pervade the experience:

How far do you really want to go?

How much strength do you truly possess?

What will you take with you?

What is weighing you down, and how much of it is unnecessary?

As a resident of an Appalachian Trail community, I frequently find piled around the neighborhood trails the gear-droppings of adventurers who have discovered their limitations. They have abandoned what was unnecessary in order to quicken their pace, or perhaps to take on something more important, like extra water.

Now, I do not like litter. But I appreciate the metaphors my landscape offers.

If you will come up, you must cast off what shackles you.

View yourself with brutal honesty: your health, your preparedness, your vulnerabilities, your distractions.

Whatever you are carrying that does not belong to you, set down. It may not be easy to do this, but you must.

Smash it. Shatter it. Cast it away to the teeth of this mountain, to be recycled like carrion. You will never reach the top hauling all of this crap.

See what drags on you, look at it and name it, and cut it off, step up by step up, through the pain, through the tears, through the sweat .

Reevaluate.

Continue.

Do this again, and again, and again, until the summit is attained.

You will know then, what matters most, what was worth carrying, what has always been true, what has always been waiting for you to remember it.

No one climbs a mountain accidentally.

– Catherine Oliver

you will find your way.
it is
in the
same place
as
your love.

–seek

– nayyirah waheed

Know yourself; try not to lie to yourself (it’s hard sometimes); and love yourself metaphorically and literally.

…When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ When we think we “know” we become rigid and righteous and bulldoze others with that knowing. When we think we know there is no clarity to respond. Response comes from openness and wonder, one begins to ask “How best can I serve this situation?”
When we leave the mind open and ask questions, answers arise. The world seems to be responding.

We pass the word around; we ponder how the case is put by different people, we read the poetry; we meditate over the literature; we play the music; we change our minds; we reach an understanding. Society evolves this way. Not by shouting each other down, but by the unique capacity of unique, individual human beings to comprehend each other.
– Lewis Thomas

When you say,
“I’m ignorant: teach me,”

such honesty is better
than a false reputation.
– Rumi

When you are on the outside looking in, poetry says “you are right where you belong, just turn around.
– James Scott Smith

Perhaps this is what I desire most . . . , becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood . . . In the vastness of the desert, I want to create my days as a ceremony around slowness. I want my life to be a celebration of
s l o w n e s s.
– Terry Tempest Williams

…Today the planet is the only proper “in group.”
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.
You must return with the bliss and integrate it.
The return is seeing the radiance is everywhere.
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.
Sanctify the place you are in.
Follow your bliss…
– Joseph Campbell

Minimalism is an invitation to value life. At its core, minimalism is about identifying and embracing our individual values. It refuses to allow culture or corporations to shape our hearts’ desires. It has identified what is most valuable in life and removed everything that distracts us from it. And life has been reclaimed.
– Joshua Becker

Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.
– William Commanda, Algonquin elder

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.
– Brene Brown

I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think:
There are the rushing waves mountains of molecules each stupidly minding its own business trillions apart yet forming white surf in unison.
Ages on ages
before any eyes could see
…year after year
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
On a dead planet
with no life to entertain.
Never at rest, tortured by energy
wasted prodigiously by the sun
poured into space.
A mite makes the sea roar.
Deep in the sea
all molecules repeat
the patterns of one another
till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves
and a new dance starts.
Growing in size and complexity,
living things,
masses of atoms,
DNA, protein,
dancing a pattern ever more intricate,
out of the cradle,
onto dry land,
here It is standing:
atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
wonders at wondering:
I, a universe of atoms,
an atom in the universe.
– Richard Feynman

Carl Jung: To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images– that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions– I was inwardly calmed and reassured.

It is false to say that frontiers do not exist. They do exist, temporarily. But at the same time there exists a force of creativity and truth uniting us all, in humility and in pride at the same time.
– Albert Camus

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.
– Jane Kenyon

Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.
– Thomas Merton

Say you have seen something. You have seen an ordinary bit of what is real, the infinite fabric of time that eternity shoots through, and time’s soft-skinned people working and dying under slowly shifting stars. Then what?
– Annie Dillard

His Holiness the 16th Karmapa sings to us!
.
“Warmer, brighter, more radiant than the Sun,
Softer, kinder, more enchanting than the Moon,
More breathtaking than the trillion stars,
You are my entire and beautiful universe.”
.
Who is he singing this to?
.
You, Tara, Compassionate Resonance, are my entire and beautiful universe. “The” Universe. And also, a kernel as tiny as a mustard seed in each of our hearts. As i drop the facade of name, gender, position, possessions, family ties, what is left? That kernel of Love that takes my breath away.

This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.
– Rebecca Solnit

Nurturing Our Love ~ 17th Karmapa

We actively nurture our love by working wholeheartedly on ourselves. This is the way our own spiritual practice can become a condition that helps love to last. Spiritual practice means transforming ourselves. It means changing. We cannot hope to just find love and keep it on a shelf – as if I have given you my love, you have given me your love, and now we just have to brush the dust off it from time to time, and we are basically done. Contrary to this, love is a living thing. Like a tree, it needs to grow continually, yielding fresh cycles of leaves and flowers and fruit. If this stops, the tree stagnates and eventually dies. Once we embrace love as a fully active practice, only then can we begin to speak of undying love.

The more one has suffered, the less one demands. To protest is a sign one has traversed no hell.
– Emile M Cioran

You cannot touch the Earth while strapped inside a machine. You cannot feel your home through wheels or see and taste it through a pane of glass.
– Edward Abbey

If you want to talk about wisdom you also need to know what is meant by delusion.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

When you customize your own spiritual path it is not interruptive to your ego patterns. If your path is not interruptive to your ego, you will not be transformed.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Around six in the evening, I doze on my bed. The window is wide open, the gray day has lifted now. I experience a certain floating euphoria: everything is liquid, aerated, drinkable (I drink the air, the moment, the garden). And since I happen to be reading Suzuki, it seems to me that I am quite close to the state that Zen calls sabi; or again (since I am also reading Blanchot), to the “fluid heaviness” he speaks of apropos of Proust.
– Roland Barthes

Kindness, altruistic love, and compassion are qualities that do not harmonize well with bias.
– Matthieu Ricard

Spirituality is offered up not through a tangible substance, but through absence …
– Emmanuel Levinas

Images are abolished. Metaphors have dissipated. Words are broken open. There
is only, deep in the mind, a henceforth incorruptible poem that a complete necessity seems to have reduced to absence and which, none the less, recognizes itself in this absence as the image–the final image–of plenitude and of the absolute.
– Maurice Blanchot

Aubades recited silently at dusk—anticipation. I am a clutch
of words stumbling through a universe written
in the language of textures.
– LeighAnna Schesser

I’d say poetry wants to be contagious, to be a contagion. Its syntax wants to pass something on to an other in the way that you can, for example, pass laughter on. It’s different from being persuasive and making an argument. That’s why great poems have so few arguments in them. They don’t want to make the reader ‘agree.’ They don’t want to move through the head that way. They want to go from body to body. Built in is the belief that such community—could one even say ceremony—might ‘save’ the world.
– Jorie Graham

The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.
 – Graham Greene

Searching and sad; my mind is stuffed with words
Which voice the passion and the ache of things:
– Amy Lowell

Day and night I try, in my studio with its six two-thousand watt suns, balancing between the extremes of the impossible, to shake loose the real from the unreal, to give visions body, to penetrate into unknown transparencies.
– Erwin Blumenfeld

I’m vibrating so frequently
I feel like I’m in stereo,
like I have two hearts,
one singing carols outside me
while the other beats sympathetically,
a cloud dissipating
to bare the freak horizon
the sky milks far away.
– Christopher DeWeese

Life is not so much invented as composed.
– Peter Pereira

All he had to do was solve the mystery of the universe, which may be difficult but is not as difficult as living an ordinary life.
– Walker Percy

We each have a smithy in our soul who stands before the altar of a forge —hammering in the dark— working by the heat of an alchemical fire and the hiss of a steamy dousing — illuminated by an elemental glow and showers of hot sparks as the anvil rings its music.
This smithy turns the failures and successes of everyday life into internal shapes that make us who we are.
The work is tough and basic, yet it is full of beauty.
– Re-visioning of Thomas Moore in Dark Nights of the Soul

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Spiritual fulfillment is just as fleeting as any other kind of fulfillment.
– Brad Warner

…You are able to recognize, when you are shown,
The sparks flying from the mane of the black stallion,
The lightning of his hooves as he rears,
And in the background a thick forest spreading
To the east, each leaf a distinct pinprick of light.

Then you begin to notice things for yourself,

A line of torches curving along a black valley,

A sparkling flower, no bigger than a snowflake,

Shining by itself in the northwest coordinate.

It is you who discovers the particular flash

Of each tooth inside the bear’s open mouth and the miners

With their lighted helmets rising in a row.

How clear and explicit, you tell someone with confidence,

That ship, each separate gleaming line of its rigging,

The glowing dots of the oars, the radiating

Eyes of the figure on the prow, the corners

Of each sail lit.


Soon there is no hesitation to the breadth

Of your discoveries. Until one night during the long

Intensity of your observation, you look so perfectly

That you finally see yourself, off in the distance

Among the glittering hounds and hunters, beside the white

Shadows of the swans. There are points of fire

At your fingertips, a brilliance at the junctures

Of your bones. You watch yourself floating,

Your heels in their orbits, your hair spreading

Like a phosphorescent cloud, as you rise slowly,

A skeleton of glass beads, above the black desert,

Over the lanterned hillsides and on out through the hollow

Stretching directly overhead.

- Pattiann Rogers

At the spring
we hear the great seas traveling
underground,
giving themselves up
with tongues of water
that sing the earth open.
They have journeyed through the graveyards
of our loved ones,
turning in their grave
to carry the stories of life to air.
Even the trees with their rings
have kept track
of the crimes that live within
and against us.
We remember it all.
We remember, though we are just skeletons
whose organs and flesh
hold us in.
We have stories
as old as the great seas
breaking through the chest,
flying out the mouth,
noisy tongues that once were silenced,
all the oceans we contain
coming to light.
– Linda Hogan

I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.
– James Baldwin

Listen to what makes your hair stand on end, your heart melt, and your eyes go wide, what stops you in your tracks and makes you want to live, wherever it comes from, and hope that your writing can do all those things for other people. Write for other people, but don’t listen to them too much.
– Rebecca Solnit

I Want To Go
I want to go to Jerusalem
to eat its fruits, to drink its waters.
I lean onto Him
and in Him I trust
and the Lord of all people.
And I see the Holy Temple in front of me
it looks to me like the crescent moon.
I lean onto Him
and in Him I trust
and the Lord of all people.
And they’re forging it with precious stones
and they’re cleaning it with precious stones.
I lean onto Him
and in Him I trust
and the Lord of all people.
– Yasmin Levy

The more planless we go, the more surely we settle down into right relations with the mountains.
– John Muir

Freedom can come swiftly. One moment, we’re bound by something, the sum total of our life – our concepts about who we are, our position in the world, the force and weight of our relationships to people and places; we’re caught in the fabric of all that. Then, at another moment, it’s gone. There is nothing obstructing us. We’re free to walk out the door. In fact, our prison dissolves around us, and there’s nothing to escape from. What has changed is our mind. The self that was caught, trapped, is freed the minute that the mind changes and perceives space instead of a prison. If there is no prison, then there can be no prisoner. In fact, there never was a prison except in our mind, in the concepts that became the brick and mortar of our confinement.
– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Are there scenes in life, right now, for which we might conceivably be thankful? Is there a basis for joy or serenity, even if felt only occasionally? Are there grounds now and then for an unironic smile?
– Robert Adams

Our lives happen between the memorable … What I miss most about her is that commonplace I can no longer remember.
– Jack Gilbert

And so I come to the fields and vast palaces of memory, where are stored the innumerable images of material things brought to it by the senses. Further there is stored in the memory the thoughts we think, by adding or taking from or otherwise modifying the things that sense has made contact with and all other things that have been entrusted to and laid up in memory … when I turn to memory I ask it to bring forth what I want …
– St. Augustine

In psychological terms, it is the ego that fears the uncertainties of life whereas the deep self or soul knows that we are never alone in this world and that we are at home whenever we are in touch with the depth of our own heart and the dream of our soul.
– Michael Meade

Catch 22:
I’m not running away from my responsibilities. I’m running to them. There’s nothing negative about running away to save my life.

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.
– HL Mencken

The path of the Middle Way leads to deep confidence free of grasping and reification.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

The Solace of Wild Places
In these mountains I am made whole again
by birds and rocks and trees which speak to me
of their own difficulty in surviving storms. The earth reaffirms
my brief connection to her holy body and in this wild place
I find a lasting grace, unheeded in the daily shove of life.
The sun kneads my back with reassurance and the stream
sings of simplicity overlooked in my struggle to be brave.
Deep in these mountains solitude soothes my rage,
and I know that no one notices my importance,
not even me.
– Nancy Wood, Wild Love

Part of spiritual practice is to learn more, constantly, and be intelligent about your choices. The yoga of study.
– Thomas Moore

…And just as you came into life
surprised
you go out again,
lifted,
cloud-hidden
from one unknown

to another

and fall and turn

and appear again in the mountains

not remembering
g
how in the beginning

you refused

to join,

could not speak of,

did not even know

you were that

deep

calm

welling

almost forgotten

spring

of eternal presence.

– David Whyte

The more we prattle with others, the less of a chance we have for a serious conversation with ourselves.
– Yahia Lababidi

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.
– John O’Donohue

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
– Marcus Aurelius

When the alarm goes off, the first ones to open their eyes are words, immense eyes God uses to spy on us. Afterwards, the inner doors open, narrow hallways where morning light advances like a fresh-water rivulet. The rest of the order is slightly variable: now I cannot tell whether petals or bells open first, whether my love for you or your love for me opens first, sweet synchronicity of awakening together. Everything alive sooner or later will open, like a premonition: oranges on the marble countertop, color on matter, butterfly unfurling in profile, rose flush on the neck, body opening over body, Why talk about the future? Love is not a straight line drawn in pencil on the calendar: neither going nor arriving nor advancing. Just to open ourselves in delicate circles: You, stone–I, water.
– Gemma Gorga

And to know the sound of one hand clapping
You don’t need to read Lao Tsu
Just look around, look around, this is the sound
Do you hear it too?
One hand clapping, one heart singing
One Being being me and you
Only one unmoving ocean
Where many waves pass through
And you don’t need to be a Zen Buddhist
To pierce the heart of this mystery
You only need to be willing to stop and see,
See what is still and free.
– Kirtana, Why the Sufis Whirl

Music replaced the eve
Poetry replaced the dawn

Film is, to me, just unimportant. But people are very important.
– John Cassavetes

Nullius in verba (Take no one’s word for it).
– motto of the Royal Society

In vain do we build the city if we do not first build the man.
– Edwin Markham

Ananda said to the Buddha, “This is half of the holy life: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.”

“Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”

World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.
– Dalai Lama XIV

Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.
– Carl Jung

Real beauty is so deep you have to move into darkness to understand it.
– Barry López

The simple truth is as you say: We’re drowning in information.
Truth is easy because everybody thinks they know it…
wisdom on the other hand is rare as a
priceless gem and therefore the aim over “truth.”
Here is a paradoxical piece of wisdom:
some things that happen are not true,
other things that haven’t happened are
– Andrew Hagel

To feel yourself wake into change, as if your change
Were immense and figured into the heavens’ longing.
And yet all you want is to rise out of the shade

Of yourself into the cooling blaze of a summer night
When the moon shines and the earth itself
Is covered and silent in the stoniness of its sleep.
 – Mark Strand

In our desire for freedom, we imagine that we have to eliminate unwanted aspects of ourselves. But the Buddha’s psychology does not support such an approach. Change happens naturally as we open to truth. The more we bring our attachments into awareness, the freer we become, not because we eliminate the attachments, but because we learn to identify more with awareness than with clinging.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our struggle to achieve, we have not yet instigated. Silence is the soul’s break for freedom.
– David Whyte

Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?
– Pema Chödrön

If people knew that nothing can happen
unless the entire universe makes it happen,
they would achieve much more with less expenditure of energy.
– Nisargadatta

MESSAGE FROM A DYING FRIEND
I don’t want your answers, your good advice. I don’t want your theories about ‘why’ or ‘how’. I don’t need your pity. Your attempts to make me feel better only make me feel worse. I am human, just like you, and crave realness.
Just be present with me. Listen. Give me space. Hold my trembling hand, sometimes. Your attention is so precious to me. Your being speaks volumes.
If you feel uncomfortable, don’t be ashamed. If you don’t know what to say to me, that’s okay; I feel that way too, sometimes. If you feel disgusted, angry, uncertain, fearful, that’s okay, I love you for it. You are human, too.
Put your textbook learning to one side now. Don’t try to have ‘unconditional positive regard’; it feels so false to me. Forget ’empathy’ – I want you to come closer than that.
See, I am you, in disguise. These are your broken bones, your shallow breaths, your twisted limbs. I am your mirror; you are seeing yourself.
Don’t try to be strong for me. I am not a victim. Fall apart, if you must. Weep, if you need to weep. Mourn those shattered dreams, those lost futures. Let the past slip away too. Meet me here, now, in the fire of presence, with the fullness of your being.
I speak in an ancient language now.
I want you to be a witness.
– Jeff Foster

THE SILENCE BETWEEN US
Many people in the modern world find even a few moments of silence in a conversation awkward, uncomfortable, even embarrassing.
Sometimes we speak not because we have anything important or authentic or heartfelt to say, not because we even want to talk, but because we feel uncomfortable, nervous, anxious about not talking. We speak in order to avoid the void, distract from the extraordinary absence at the heart of life.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In some Native American cultures, it’s usual to wait up to several minutes before responding to a question, or taking one’s turn in a conversation. Replying too soon is considered rude. You obviously haven’t truly listened to what the other person is saying.
Slow down, friend. Get out of your head and into your body. Take a few moments to just feel your feelings in a conversation. Let yourself feel awkward in the silence if you must. So what? It’s just a feeling, it won’t hurt you, and the silence will hold it anyway.
Take the risk that the other person will pick up on your feelings of awkwardness or think that you’re boring or weird. Hey, at least you are real. At least you aren’t hiding behind a wall of words. At least you are trying to connect in a deeper way. At least you have the courage to feel and not distract yourself.
Bring some space into your conversations today. Listen. Wait. Respond from presence. Let the conversation breathe.
Remember, our deepest connections are always made in silence. Witness a mother rocking her baby to sleep, two old friends or lovers, a simple walk in nature. Words are not necessary for us to feel each other, know each other, understand each other deeply.
Maybe, with all our clever words, we’re just trying to get to the silence.
– Jeff Foster

Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.
– Mattie Stepanek

A Taste of Blue
Cynthia Manick
I tell my father about the way
I collect small things
in the sacs of my heart—
thick juniper berries
apple cores that retain their shape
and the click of shells
that sound like an oven baking.
He presses the mole on my shoulder
that matches his shoulder,
proof that I was not found
at the bottom of the sea.
I also got his feet, far from
Cinderella’s dainty glass slippers—
and fingers, too wide for most
Cracker Jack wedding rings.
I read how some mammals never
forget their young—
their speckled spots, odd goat
cries, or birthmarks on curved
ivory tusks. There must be some
thread of magic there
cooling honey to stone—where
like recognizes like or how
a rib seeks its twin.

What is our personal task at this moment? We must follow our own competencies. As Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow your bliss.’ Properly understood, the deep spontaneities of our being are our best guide. What are you most happy with? What are you most delighted with? What are your competencies that give you joy and delight and relatedness to others? These questions are what we have to ask ourselves.
– Thomas Berry

Any unhappiness comes from forgetting.
Remember, and be back close
with the Friend.
– Rumi

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless…
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Hokusai says
article-content
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter ifyou draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.
– Roger Keyes

No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side. Or you don’t.
– Stephen King

Demons polish the true path.
Only when one’s path is true do the
demons come.

The more they rub you the brighter you get.
When polished till you shine like the
Autumn moon,

Then in the space you illuminate the hordes
of demons.

When the hordes of demons all retreat,
Then the Buddha of your inherent-nature appears.

– Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you
to sniff the sea’s aroma that we loved together,
to continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live,
and you whom I love and sang above everything else
to continue to flourish, full-flowered:

so that you can reach everything my love directs you to,
so that my shadow can travel along in your hair,
so that everything can learn the reason for my song.

– Pablo Neruda

… imagine a different relationship in which people and land are good medicine for each other.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Throughout my whole life, during every minute of it, the world has been gradually lighting up and blazing before my eyes until it has come to surround me, entirely lit from within.
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and – it was the most casual of moments – as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given. Time seemed to vanish. Urgency vanished. Any important difference between myself and all other things vanished. I knew that I belonged to the world, and felt comfortably my own containment in the totality. I did not feel that I understood any mystery, not at all; rather that I could be happy and feel blessed within the perplexity.
– Mary Oliver, Long Life

The French called this time of day ‘l’heure bleue.’ To the English it was ‘the gloaming.’ The very word ‘gloaming’ reverberates, echoes – the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour – carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone.
– Joan Didion

Denise Levertov, 1923 – 1997
The Secret
Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.
I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me
(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even
what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,
the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,
and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that
a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines
in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for
assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

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

how similar two true poets can be, even cultures and centuries apart. basho wrote “but when all has been said, i’m not really the kind who is so completely enamored of solitude that he must hide every trace of himself away in the mountains and wilds. it’s just that, troubled by frequent illness and weary of dealing with people, i’ve come to dislike society.” fernando pessoa wrote “solitude devastates me, company oppresses me”. so, what is the solution? if such is even imaginable for a poet? basho wrote “and so in the end, unskilled and talentless as i am, i give myself wholly to this one concern, poetry.” pessoa wrote “i have no ambitions nor desires. to be a poet is not my ambition, it’s simply my way of being alone.” true beauty and true genius are always in dialogue.
– hune margulies

There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked the woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer. Visual affinities of color, relief and texture abound. A fallen branch echoes the deltoid form of a stream bed into which it has come to rest. Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird. Different aspects of the forest link unexpectedly with each other, and so it is that within the stories, different times and worlds can be joined.
– Robert Macfarlane, excerpt from ‘The Wild Places’

A hidden fire burns perpetually upon the hearth of the world . . . In autumn this great conflagration becomes especially manifest. Then the flame that is slowly and mysteriously consuming every green thing bursts into vivid radiance. Every blade of grass and every leaf in the woodlands is cast into the great oven of Nature; and the bright colours of their fading are literally the flames of their consuming. The golden harvest-fields are glowing in the heart of the furnace . . . By this autumn fire God every year purges the floor of nature. All substances that have served their purpose in the old form are burnt up. Everywhere God makes sweet and clean the earth with fire.
– Hugh McMillan

Half Life

We walk through half our life
as if it were a fever dream

barely touching the ground

our eyes half open
our heart half closed.

Not half knowing who we are
we watch the ghost of us drift
from room to room
through friends and lovers
never quite as real as advertised.

Not saying half we mean
or meaning half we say
we dream ourselves
from birth to birth
seeking some true self.

Until the fever breaks
and the heart can not abide
a moment longer
as the rest of us awakens,
summoned from the dream,
not half caring for anything but love.

– Stephen Levine

Denise Levertov, 1923 – 1997
The Great Black Heron
Since I stroll in the woods more often
than on this frequented path, it’s usually
trees I observe; but among fellow humans
what I like best is to see an old woman
fishing alone at the end of a jetty,
hours on end, plainly content.
The Russians mushroom-hunting after a rain
trail after themselves a world of red sarafans,
nightingales, samovars, stoves to sleep on
(though without doubt those are not
what they can remember). Vietnamese families
fishing or simply sitting as close as they can
to the water, make me recall that lake in Hanoi
in the amber light, our first, jet-lagged evening,
peace in the war we had come to witness.
This woman engaged in her pleasure evokes
an entire culture, tenacious field-flower
growing itself among the rows of cotton
in red-earth country, under the feet
of mules and masters. I see her
a barefoot child by a muddy river
learning her skill with the pole. What battles
has she survived, what labors?
She’s gathered up all the time in the world
–nothing else–and waits for scanty trophies,
complete in herself as a heron.
from her Sands of the Well, 1996

Yes, young writers have to discover their ‘true subjects’—though perhaps not while they are undergraduates. Younger writers should be experimenting with form as well as material, like a water-seeker with a divining rod. We are ‘haunted’ by experiences, images, people, acts of our own or of others, which we don’t fully understand and the serious writer approaches such material reverently.
– Joyce Carol Oates

No spring nor summer’s beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face . . .
– John Donne

Silent friend of many distance, feel
how your breath draws apart the walls of space.
Lost in the timbers of lost belfries, peal,
let yourself toll. What feeds on you will trace
its own dominion from this nourishment.
Pass through a transformation and resign
to it. What pains you most? To it assent.
If drinking is a bitterness, be wine.
Be in this night whose borders have no frame
a magic force wherein your senses cross.
Be meaning of their strange encounter. Go,
and if the earthly fades and has forgot
you, whisper to the silent earth: I flow.
To the onrushing water say: I am.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

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

It’s up to us to be humble, to be brave, to be accountable to our own dreams, no one else. It’s up to us to be iconoclastic, to be together, to stay awake.
– Trent Gilliss

Backwards
BY WARSAN SHIRE
for Saaid Shire
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life;
that’s how we bring Dad back.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole.
We grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear,
your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums.
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can write the poem and make it disappear.
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass,
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Maybe we’re okay kid?
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love,
you won’t be able to see beyond it.
You won’t be able to see beyond it,
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love.
Maybe we’re okay kid,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass.
I can write the poem and make it disappear,
give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums
we grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole,
that’s how we bring Dad back.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life.
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.

What is wisdom? If you are a mystic you become totally empty and you are given whatever you need. For example, there is a plane where all the knowledge is, and you can go there. You can get whatever you need.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Where the poet stops, the poem
begins. The poem asks only
that the poet gets out of the way.
The poem empties itself
in order to fill itself up.

When the poet disappears
the poem becomes visible.
– Donald Hall

One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
BY PABLO NERUDA
TRANSLATED BY MARK EISNER
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.
– Joan Didion

The biggest problem today isn’t just that hate is speaking so loudly; it’s that love is speaking too softly.
– Marianne Williamson

Spiritual seekers shouldn’t avoid politics; they should be the biggest grown-ups in the room. If love applies anywhere it applies everywhere
– Marianne Williamson

The universe isn’t invested in you getting what you want; it’s invested in your enlightenment — you going through whatever you need to go through in order to become the person you are capable of being.
– Marianne Williamson

The time may come to pass: that is how time works. The only question that matters now, then, is whether our hearts have connected, and can learn to breathe together.
– Waylon Lewis

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
– Erma Bombeck

To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing.
– Anne Carson

The resonant, the orotund, the rounding of
The round full phrases sounding like far sighs,
As if an ancient hill has found a motion
Long remembered, never brought to action …
– Theodore Roethke

Whatever furrow you dig in the red earth,
Whatever the tree you hang your lights on,
There comes that moment
When what you are is what you will be
Until the end, no matter
What prayer you answer to—
– Charles Wright

Go back, past the curtain of details, the wall
of chores, the grimy surfaces that obscure.
Go around the corners, under the broken fence,
crawl if you have to over moss, snail
slime, climb up the uneven hills
and down the dips through the snarl of vines
to the word pond with its scummy surface, frogs,
pond you found when you were seven,
and you slipped on mossy stones
and fell, breaking your birthday watch,
its yellow crystal, its bent and loosened black
Roman numerals, stopping time.
Pond you have had each time to refind,
kneel beside, brace yourself against
falling into, and reach into–fingers, wrist,
arm, shoulder—down, and down.
– Susan Kolodny

An old house in the mountains, with squeaky doors and a humidity that blankets it day and night, like a towel soaked in vinegar. There are also spiders seemingly made of wire mesh, rickety drawers that are difficult to open, corners where a broom never reaches, a fireplace of tired ash. How is it even possible to speak of a house that is, at the same time, so many houses? Look at it; it’s like a magic box lined with mirrors: You open it and from inside, out comes another; you open it and from inside, out comes another; you open it and from inside, out comes another. Perhaps that’s why they say houses are like people.
– Gemma Gorga

Unlock me muses
Of the lost and losing
And the seashell kindly gnashing
to fill me
– Jesse Nathan

The nostalgia I have been cherishing all these years is a hypertrophied sense of lost childhood, not sorrow …
– Vladimir Nabokov

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness, and all the thousand bitters which those men I speak of must necessarily taste …
– John Keats

There are open spaces, if only
in our searching eyes.
– Rose McLarney

It’s very important that we relearn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying; it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

…In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your sense in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.
And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.

To the flashing water say: I am.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

We are called to join in a dance whose steps must be learned along the way, so it is important to attend and respond. Even in uncertainty, we are responsible for our steps.
– Mary Catherine Bateson

I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.
– Anne Lamott

We are like butterflies that flutter for a day and think it is forever.
– Carl Sagan

The passions of the soul make the desert habitable. One inhabits, not a cave of rock, but the heart within the lion. The desert is not in Egypt; it is anywhere once we desert the heart.
– James Hillman

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
– Walt Whitman

Poetry privileges feeling. There are many arenas and many genres and many platforms where things get discussed. Poetry is the one place where your experience and your feelings are privileged and made legitimate and authentic. And all of us share that. We share the ability to feel something about what is happening around us.
– Claudia Rankine

It is an astonishing fact about the current era that in the most powerful country in world history, with a high level of education and privilege, one of the two political parties virtually denies the well-established facts about anthropogenic climate change.
– Noam Chomsky

I write to be near those I love.
I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper.
I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear.
I write past the embarrassment of exposure.
– Shannon L. Adler

Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.
– Earl Nightingale

Stranger, pause and look;
From the dust of ages
Lift this little book,
Turn the tattered pages,
Read me, do not let me die!

Search the fading letters finding

Steadfast in the broken binding

All that once was I!
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

the poet dogen said: “handle even a single leaf of green in such a way that it manifests the body of the buddha. this in turn allows the buddha to manifest through the leaf”. in other words, we actualize our awakening in our relationship with the ten thousand things. this is similar to what the kotzker rebbe said: “god is there where we let him in”. that is to say, we come to the presence of god in the relationship with the neighbor. irrespective of how each of these poets has chosen to name the essence of being, be that buddha or god, both dogen and the kotzker agree on the essential dialogical nature of the liberated life. dogen added: “the color of the mountains is buddha’s body; the sound of running water is his great speech.” the poet is saying that the world itself, and all its beings, when celebrated as a thou, becomes the presence and the body. as martin buber said, “all real life is meeting”. we can say that all real meeting is dharma. the beauty of being is enacted in the relationship, for we go toward the within by going toward the between.
– hune margulies

In the light of trust, as it develops slowly over time, you will find that you are a privileged child of the universe, entirely safe, entirely supported, entirely loved.
– Deepak Chopra

Even when we fall, we remain in the arms of the Divine Beloved . . .
– Stephen Hatch

I often recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who, on August 16th, 1967, gave his last presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He said: “One of the great problems of history is the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites – polar opposites (…). Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

I feel we must not separate love from power, nor compassion from power. In fact I see compassion as infused with power, as well as infused with love. Dr. King’s words about love and power, as well as the guidelines I have outlined above apply not just to power but to all of the edge states. It is not about separating love and power and using power as a way to denigrate others, but rather using the power of love and compassion as a way to liberate others. Our practice is about bringing love and power together to the deep and great benefit of all beings.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

I realized how far I was from believing in God, in human beings, or in anything at all. I doubted art. What was it for? If it was to entertain people who were afraid of waking up, I was not interested in it. If it was a means of succeeding economically, I was not interested. If it was an activity taken on by my ego to exalt itself, I was not interested. If I had to be the jester for those in power, those who poison the planet and leave millions of people starving, I was not interested. What then was the purpose of art? After a crisis so profound that it led me to think of suicide, I arrived at the conclusion that the purpose of art was to heal.
– Alejandro Jodorowsky

Empathy breathes life into our communities.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people’s response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.
– Henri J.M. Nouwen

The primordial ground, the great, ever-pure primordial emptiness,
Which is free from all elaboration and change,
Is the very nature of uncompounded and self-ari…sing awareness:
Bless me so that I may recognize the view, my very own nature.
– Trulshik Rinpoche

It’s not how much we read, but how much we integrate into our being that counts. Sometimes a single line can significantly change our life, where a hundred excellent books couldn’t earlier.
– Nithya Shanti

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
– Charles Dickens

Do not do any harmful act, even the most insignificant. Just as a tiny spark fanned by the wind can rapidly burn a mountain of dry grass, a single bout of viole…nt anger can destroy a mountain of merit. Avoid any harmful conduct like poison, understanding that it is the cause of all your suffering, and also transform neutral actions into positive ones.
– Jetsun Mingyur Paldron​

Clinging to the unreal as if it were real, it comes to seem truly real.
– Longchenpa

If the root of a tree is medicinal, then the fruit will be medicine. But if the root is poisonous, then the fruit will be poison. Likewise, positive and negative qualities come from one’s motivation, and not from one’s physical actions in themselves.
– Jigme Lingpa

THE TRUE SOURCE OF THE GIFT
Many of the most luminous gifts of our lives arrive as complete surprises. A gift is the most beautiful of intrusions. It arrives undeserved and unexpected. It comes ashore in our hearts carefully formed to fit exactly the shape of a hunger we might not even know we had. The gift comes with no price tag, no demand that puts us under an obligation. Every gift has an inner lamp that casts a new brightness over an undiscovered field of the heart…. In this light we discover and bring to birth something new within us. Regardless of how carefully we examine the path of its arrival, the eyes of our mind can never unveil the true source of the gift. The gift keeps its reason secret. Some unexpected path opened in the interim world and the gift was already on its way towards us.
– John O’Donohue

Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.
– Marcus Aurelius

My life was like
a crisscross puzzle
full of lost pieces…
Poetry built more
across and down
and I am now
a crossword puzzle
– Soodabeh Saeidnia​

A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
– Gautama Buddha

Kiss the mouth that tells you, here, here is the world.
– Galway Kinnell (about his daughter after she was born)

Live or die, but don’t poison everything.
– Anne Sexton​

Buddha said the path is beautiful in the beginning, middle, and end. Don’t worry about where you are. Just appreciate that you’re walking.

If we abandon the force of kindness as we confront cruelty, we won’t learn anything to take into tomorrow…
– Sharon Salzberg

What we’re designing is an engine to accelerate the real.
– Michael Helm.

No language is neutral. To speak is to claim a life—and often our own.
– Ocean Vuong

Do not stay where there is Buddha; run quickly away from where there is no Buddha.
– Dogen

It’s never been easy, not for a minute.
– Luc Sante

Music is your worn experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.
– Charlie Parker

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression
– Isaac Bashevis Singer​

The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.
– Hazart Inauat Khan

I’m committed to an interdisciplinary investigation of cultural dynamics. The reason I will forever identify as a poet is because I think poetry is the one genre that privileges feelings. And so no matter what I’m working on, I’m also interested in the impact of the reality with the human psyche.
– Claudia Rankine

​Poetry is physical. As Pound said, poetry has one pole in reason and one pole in music. It’s like making a joke. If you get one word wrong at the end of a joke, you’ve lost the whole thing.
– W.S. Merwin

The Truce
Pluck a strand of wind
And listen to the trees quiver.

Run until your heart pounds
And watch the stagnant surface
Of the pond ripple.

Throw back
The suffocating blankets of false comfort
And let yourself feel the renewal of the rain.

Only when we overcome
Our fear of being alone,
Can we come to know the company
That is always with us.

In surrendering, we are cradled.
In accepting, we are able to impart.
In kneeling, we stand taller.

Gather what is worthy of your devotion
And never betray it.

So that, in the end,
You will know that,
Though you be small,
You poured out all that you are
Into what is greater

And in doing so,
Became a part of it.
– L. M. Browning

One conscious breath – in and out – is a meditation.
– Eckhart Tolle

We know soul is being cared for when our pleasures feel deeper than usual, when we can let go of the need to be free of complexity and confusion, and when compassion takes the place of distrust and fear. Soul is interested in the differences among cultures and individuals, and within ourselves it wants to be expressed in uniqueness if not in outright eccentricity.
– Thomas Moore

If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.
– Noam Chomsky

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.
– Noam Chomsky

The sound of maple leaves falling
in this mountain village
makes it hard to tell
a rainy day
from one that is not.
– Ryokan

In the early Christian era, many Celtic Christians embarked on a kind of pilgrimage called a peregrinatio. Unlike the pilgrimages to the Holy Land undertaken by Christians in the Middle Ages, a peregrinatio proposes no specific relic to see, shrine to visit, or icon to venerate. Nothing allows the pilgrim to return home with a sense of ‘I’ve been there and done that.‘ Instead, a peregrinatio is a wandering into the unknown, inaugurated by the pilgrim’s inner conviction of fate and fortune. Essentially a peregrinatio represents travel for the sake of Love, initiated and sustained by the love of God. It calls the traveler to leave all that is familiar, to let go of security and any goals or desires for life except one; to find the place of one’s own resurrection.
– Karla Kincannon

You can measure the diameter-breast-height, of a tree; but you cannot measure the magic of a forest, or the effect a healthy, growing wild place has on your spirit. One of the powers of art is that it travels back and forth between these two worlds. Where art exists, the spirit of a place still exists.
– Rick Bass

If you approach your life with curiosity + respect, you can’t go wrong. You just can’t. No matter what happens.
– Maia Duerr

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.
– Mary Oliver, Halleluiah

Wait for an autumn day, for a slightly
weary sun, for dusty air,
a pale day’s weather.

Wait for the maple’s rough, brown leaves,
etched like an old man’s hands,
for chestnuts and acorns,

for an evening when you sit in the garden
with a notebook and the bonfire’s smoke contains
the heady taste of ungettable wisdom.

Wait for afternoons shorter than an athlete’s breath,
for a truce among the clouds,
for the silence of trees,

for the moment when you reach absolute peace
and accept the thought that what you’ve lost
is gone for good.
– Adam Zagajewski

What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy.
– Terry Tempest Williams

From Beinn Aslaig

The dog bounds over the moorland,
bright with tormentil, bedstraw, milkwort,
yellow, white and blue, magenta orchids,
butterwort nodding, cotton-grass streaming.
Lark and pippet song bubbles through the air,
lochans gaze straight into heaven,
their blue blotted from the sea far below.
I see the roads I take every day
over grey-green Sleat, lochan-lit,
look over Glenelg and horned Beinn Sgritheall,
to Loch Hourn and Loch Nevis carving up the coast,
to the folding Cuillins folded into cloud.

What has this over any other place
of peak and moorland, sea and shoreline?
Only that I know it, by foot and car and name,
have seen it from every side, in all its moods – and mine,
my eye sweeping flank and groin and shoulder,
lingering like a hand on every mound and hollow.
– Meg Bateman

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Let’s get away from
all the clever humans
who put words in our mouth
let’s only say what our hearts desire
– Rumi

I hold it imperative to evolve an instrument of thought which will aid in cutting through all cultural opiates, past and present, so that a direct, immediate, and truly free vision can be achieved.
– Clyfford Still

Stand beside the woodstove,
hands on butt, palms facing out.
Face the window to the east.
What’s left of my tea in its
capped cup staying warm on
the stove behind me.
Stare out through the window:
at sunrise, snowfall, cloudy day,
branches of the apple tree,
birds moving to and fro
from the dooryard feeder.
Watch the day.
Empty tea cup,
empty mind,
empty self,
into which
this poem
now comes.
– David Budbill

What It Is Like To Read The Ancients
There was a man who left the city, went away into the mountains,
built a cabin and lived in it. He said nothing and saw no one, except
an occasional friend who came to visit, eat a meal of stew, and leave.
After a while when friends arrived they would not see the man.
but they always found a pot of stew cooking on the stove, and
since they were hungry, they ate, then waited for their friend.
When he did not return, they left saying how sorry they were
that they had missed him and vowed to return to see him again.
Year after year the friends returned. Each time they found the stew
but not the man, and always they filled their bowls and ate.
This happend two thousand years ago on a remote mountainside
in China. Yet even today the man’s cabin remains, not far from here,
clean, well kept, the woodshed full of wood, a pot of stew
cooking on the stove. I was there just yesterday to fill my bowl.
– David Budbill

Bugs in a Bowl
Han Shan, that great and crazy,
wonder-filled Chinese poet of a thousand years ago, said:
We’re just like bugs in a bowl.
All day going around never leaving their bowl.
I say, That’s right!
Every day climbing up the steep sides, sliding back.
Over and over again.
Around and around.
Up and back down.
Sit in the bottom of the bowl,
head in your hands,
cry, moan, feel sorry for yourself.
Or. Look around.
See your fellow bugs.
Walk around.
Say, Hey, how you doin’?
Say, Nice bowl!
– David Budbill

In the early Christian era, many Celtic Christians embarked on a kind of pilgrimage called a peregrinatio. Unlike the pilgrimages to the Holy Land undertaken by Christians in the Middle Ages, a peregrinatio proposes no specific relic to see, shrine to visit, or icon to venerate. Nothing allows the pilgrim to return home with a sense of ‘I’ve been there and done that.‘ Instead, a peregrinatio is a wandering into the unknown, inaugurated by the pilgrim’s inner conviction of fate and fortune. Essentially a peregrinatio represents travel for the sake of Love, initiated and sustained by the love of God. It calls the traveler to leave all that is familiar, to let go of security and any goals or desires for life except one; to find the place of one’s own resurrection.
– Karla Kincannon

Humming Birds All Summer
The real beginning of fall is the day the humming birds leave. This year it was September 5th, two days after Labor Day. Or maybe it was the 4th or the 6th, but by the 7th we knew they were gone. There’s still a humming bird or two now and then at the feeders, but they’re transients, just passing through, who stop here for a snack on their way to Central America.
With the humming birds gone it gets quieter. And with the bugs gone too, the world is definitely more silent. The warblers are passing through now but mostly at night, so we almost never hear or see them. And when the songbirds go, and all the leaves come down, this really will be an empty place. I like that emptiness. But I digress. Back to the humming birds.
Toward the middle of May, one of us will be at the sink, when suddenly outside the kitchen window there is a tiny bird squeaking at us and saying, We’re back from Costa Rica. Get out the feeders. We’re tired, hungry. This proves, by the way, that we get the same birds year after year. How else would they know to come to the window to tell us they are back? We obey and make some syrup– four parts water, one part sugar, bring it to a boil to make sure the sugar is in solution, cool it, put it in the feeders, hang the feeders up and summer begins.
All summer humming birds zoom back and forth between the dooryard apple tree and the two feeders–one hanging from a used chain saw file nailed to the corner of the house, the other from a nail on the corner of the woodshed.
There’s always a period early in the summer when the birds disappear, more or less, for a couple of weeks, after which, when they come back, their population has doubled or tripled. We can tell the young ones from the parents, by their size and their behavior.
So it goes, all summer, these tiny, exuberant, belligerent birds who entertain us all day long until that day when fall begins and they leave us without even saying goodbye.
– David Budbill

I still need my job in the city, but I find it increasingly difficult to leave behind a natural way of life and enter an unnatural and at times cruel environment which demands such unnatural responses in the name of survival and industry. In an age that prides itself on its achievements in the fields of communication technologies, men and women are suffering from loneliness and solitude as never before, due to a simple lack of communication.
– Lambros Kamperidis

Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.
– D.H. Lawrence

Beauty is the harmony of contrasts.
– Alfred North Whitehead

And every year there is a brief, startling moment / When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and / Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless / Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air: / It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies; / It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
– Edward Hirsch

Where will words take me today
And where, silent waters, will you ship the words
From what troubles shall I be lifted
What will you show me
What do birds speak of in the wet grass
On this journey how many footsteps
How many crickets shall I scatter
If I crouch like this how long
Before a fox brushes past
How long since fog lifted its net
And released my soul to leap
– Alison Pelegrin

My love for the past is like my love
for most things. I only feel it when
I’m gone. Best to stay gone
so I’m always in love. If I look
at something too long it forgets
its joy.
– Fatimah Asghar

Time does not stand still; it is writing
itself into the leaves how fatal life can be.
Fog is burning. The fields are evolving
as light arrives in a slow assured way.
Like a passing rain, light arrives!
And it is not any more beautiful one day
than another; it just seems that way,
narrowing and widening with memory.
– Martin Willitts, Jr.

This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.
– Joanna Macy

You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!
– Paul Tillich

One day, through my prayers, an overwhelming amount of love started flowing into me, filling up the dark hole that threatened to consume me. I suddenly realized that what I was feeling was the love of the Earth, the love of Creation. Every day we, as a species, do so much to destroy Creation’s ability to give us life. But that Creation continues to do everything in its power to give us life anyway. And that’s true love.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

What cannot be said above all must not be silenced but written.
– Jacques Derrida

The day misspent,
the love misplaced,
has inside it
the seed of redemption.
Nothing is exempt
from resurrection.
– Kay Ryan

Always expecting to get what you want is expecting too little of life.
– Marty Rubin

This is the trick! This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood, this is the shamanic dance in the waterfall, this is how magic is done: it’s done by hurling yourself into the abyss, and discovering that it’s a feather bed. There’s no other way to do it. – TM

The more you extend yourself to all beings, that small self that is the root and source of all our suffering and all the world’s negativity, withers and dries up, evaporating into thin air.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Don’t be afraid to be a mystery to yourself. So many times we do things or take certain directions that we don’t understand. It is only much later that we see how that action fit perfectly and inevitably to the overall pattern of our life. That is why it is so important to be willing to take a chance on our inspiration our intuition, our hunger. When we override our deepest desires with ‘practical, ‘reasonable’ considerations we are not only wasting our time, we are passing up precious opportunities that will not come again.
– Reggie Ray

The Moon
After writing poems all day,
I go off to see the moon in the pines.
Far in the woods I sit down against a pine.

The moon has her porches turned to face the light,

But the deep part of her house is in the darkness.
– Robert Bly

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver

Use loneliness. Its ache creates urgency to reconnect with the world. Take that aching and use it to propel you deeper into your need for expression – to speak, to say who you are.
– Natalie Goldberg

Chogyam Trungpa ~ It becomes a dark time when we lose faith in each other and thus lack courage.

Choosing between the two is not the way. It is by free movement of thought and action that the way is created.
It is not a matter of finding solutions to the complex problems that endlessly appear in the system but of changing the system itself by introducing a new way wherein the problems are systemically absent.
– Yasuhiko Genku Kimura

As the dominant institutions and narratives of our culture break down, and the vacuum at the core of our culture sucks away our arrogance, the time is ripe for healing to come from the margins — marginalized people, genders, races, cultures, paradigms, professions, capacities, and marginalized parts of ourselves.
– Charles Eisenstein

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.
– John Keats

The snow is melting into music.
– John Muir

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
– William Shakespeare

I learned the reason why man must work and how to dream
big dreams, To conquer time and space and fight the rivers and the seas
I stand here filled with my emptiness now and look at city and land
And I know why farms and cities are built by hot, warm, nervous hands
– Woody Guthrie

Faces skyward, we all seek/songs in the whirlwinds/that parch our slow lives.
– Adrian C. Louis

Don’t allow the lucid moment to dissolve/On a hard dry substance/you have to engrave the truth.
– Adam Zagajewski

If words fall into disrepair, what will substitute? They are all we have.
– Tony Judt

The poem/is finished/now to break it.
– Tadeusz Rozewicz

As you sleep and count the planets, think of others- there are people who have no place to sleep/As you liberate yourself with metaphors think of others- those who have lost the right to speak./And as you think of distant others- think of yourself and say- I wish I were a candle in the darkness.

- Mahmoud Darwish

Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
– Alan Cohen

What we like to call a community is often a network – like-minded people singing the same hymn sheets. A real community holds village idiots, scoundrels, and folks rubbing up against each other with entirely different views. It’s often tense. But lack of tension rarely makes great art or truly rousing conversation. When you focus entirely on harmony you create an invitation for the darkside to come visit. Harmony is not the same thing as love. Harmony is not exactly our natural state. To be clear: moments of harmony in accordance and confirmation are wonderful; pseudo-harmony of tyranny is not.
– Martin Shaw

In many ways, people now long for the healing presence of myth without even knowing it. When the troubles get deep enough, when the problems become greater than us, when the weight of the world is on our shoulders, mythos can offer more imaginative ways to proceed than the narrow paths of logic and reason. Myth has its own logic and it makes most sense when the underlying sense of the world is being sought and when the enduring values and transcendent meanings of human life must be found again.
– Michael Meade

There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.
– George Bernard Shaw

Be who you are wherever you are; and carry the burden of your heart by yourself.
– Mahmoud Darwish

It is rare, this not being in a rush: for we are both already where we want to be.
– Waylon Lewis

I made landscapes out of what I feel.
– Fernando Pessoa

They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees, and the clouds, and the sky over their heads, and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the landscapes drawn up from them to see on their walks, the rooms in which they lived and loved, were even more pleased with their love than they were themselves.
– Boris Pasternak

To be a hermit doesn’t just mean to live in the deep forest; it means that one’s mind is free from dualistic constructs.
– Padmasambhava

What beautiful song first caught our ears or made us dream of wider views and growing wings?
– Storyteller Martin Shaw

We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A poem is not merely words; it is not merely lines or even statements and meanings. It is, perhaps, more about the openness that exists somewhere on that mysterious page.
– Juan Felipe Herrera

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Compassion is not so much being kind and nice as it is being creative [enough] to wake a person up.

Everything that the pencil says is erasable,
Unlike our voices, whose words are black and permanent,
Smudging our lives like coal dust,
unlike our memories,
Etched like a skyline against the mind,
– Charles Wright

oh it is the autumn light
that brings everything back in one hand
the light again of beginnings
the amber appearing as amber
– W. S. Merwin

The grinding hypnotic power of this ruined place and these people would never leave me. I visit it in my dreams today, returning over and over, wanting to go back. It was a place where I felt an ultimate security, full license and a horrible unforgettable boundary-less love. It ruined me and it made me. Ruined, in that for the rest of my life I would struggle to create boundaries for myself that would allow me a life of some normalcy in my relationships. It made me in the sense that it would set me off on a lifelong pursuit of a ‘singular’ place of my own, giving me a raw hunger that drove me, hell-bent, in my music. It was a desperate, lifelong effort to rebuild, on embers of memory and longing, my temple of safety.
– Bruce Springsteen

That’s the real trouble with the world – too many people grow up.
– Walt Disney

…Enter each day
as upon a stage
lighted and waiting
for your step
Crave upward as flame
have keenness in the nostril
Give your eyes
to agony or rapture
Train your hands
as birds to be
brooding or nimble
Move your body
as the horses
sweeping on slender hooves
over crag and prairie
with fleeing manes
and aloofness of their limbs
Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place
– May Swenson

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
– Viktor Frankl

Sometimes our spiritual study and practice can make us more opinionated, dogmatic, tightly wound, humorless and even self-righteous. But in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition I studied, it was hard not to notice that the greatest masters I met were grounded and stable, but also joyful, playful, energetic, lighthearted and free. A good reminder!
– David Nichtern

Being a sensitive person can be a confusing,
complicated thing in this still harsh world. It feels
intuitively right to open, to feel, to enhearten our
daily life, but the world is still vibrating at a more
armored and edgy place. It is not yet attuned to the
ways of the open heart. So what to do? We don’t
want to deaden our capacity to feel, but if we feel too
much, we get run over by an often heartless world. I
have found my best answer in three places… Selective
Attachment: carefully discerning between positive
and negative individuals and environments, and only
attaching to those people and places that can hold
our tender heart safe; Strong Energetic Boundaries:
being physically and emotionally charged, so that
we can more effectively repel unwelcome energies;
Conscious Armoring: learning how to put on armor
when necessary to manage the world and difficult
situations, and, consciously removing it when it is no
longer needed. If we cultivate these practices, we stand
a much better chance of preserving our sensitivity.
Once we lose it, we lose our connection to the moment
altogether. Here’s to a sensitive way of being! What a
courageous path.
– Jeff Brown

You don’t have to come back from a toxic route. You just have to abandon it.
– Dr. Vandana Shiva

To be a hermit doesn’t just mean to live in the deep forest; it means that one’s mind is free from dualistic constructs.
– Padmasambhava

Those who crusade, not for good in themselves, but against evil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptively worse than it was before the crusades began.
– Aldous Huxley

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth, not the sky. Instead of transcending the suf…fering of all creatures, we move towards turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away.

If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear.

At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhihitta. Bodhichitta is our heart – our wounded softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings.

– Pema Chodron, Comfortable with Uncertainty
(The Love that will not die.)

A true healer does not heal you; she simply reflects back to you your innate capacity to heal. She is a reflector, or a loving transparency.
A true teacher doe…s not teach you; she does not see you as inherently separate from her, or less than her. She simply reflects back your own inner knowing, and reminds you of the vastness of your being. She is a mirror, a signpost.
And love is the space in which all of this is possible; love heals, and we learn best in a loving field, no threat of failure, no punishment.
– Jeff Foster​

One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world – your little carved-out sphere – is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart. One day you have parents; the next day you’re an orphan. One day you have a place and a path. The next day you’re lost in the wilderness.
And still the sun rises and clouds mass and drift and people shop for groceries and toilets flush and blinds go up and down. That’s when you realize that most of it – life, the relentless mechanism of existing – isn’t about you. It doesn’t include you at all. It will thrust onward even after you’ve jumped the edge.
– Lauren Oliver

The poet’s first obligation is survival. No bolder challenge confronts the modern artist than to stay healthy in a sick world.
– Stanley Kunitz

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Life is as infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one’s own personal experience. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean.
– Franz Kafka.​

…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 loveu

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

Rather than striving for the vertical ascension up and out of this world, the Sacred Feminine celebrates the body, inter­dependence with all beings. She is not about wielding the sword but rather about bearing compassionate witness. Her non-violent fearlessness is needed now more than ever.
– Clarissa Pinkola-Estes

Rain

Dato Magradze

Georgia

Translated by Victoria Field and Natalia Bukia Peters

Rain drops roll down my face,
freedom is so close,
when rain encourages you to live,
the whole universe is your building plot.

Frontiers of every country disappear,
no need for visas, no standing in long queues—
in the middle of the rain, you who have made its journey,
you wonder whether the rain is rain or a religion.

It has rained over the entire city.
I can hear bells in the chapel of the clouds.
water pours over me from the silver chalice
and I receive communion from the rain.

It rained more heavily,
the rain accelerated.
Glory to the rain, glory to the rain—
even if you don’t come, the rain will certainly come

And raindrops will tremble on your eyelashes.​

Part of the thesis that is emerging for the book I’m writing
is that we have drastically underestimated two things:

1. The harm to climate caused by “land use …changes” (i.e. deforestation, industrial agriculture, wetlands draining for development, mining, etc.) as well as overfishing and marine habitat destruction.

2. The ability of intact ecosystems, including ecological agriculture, to maintain and restore healthy climate.

That is good news and bad news. The bad news is that /even if we reduce emissions to zero/, things will continue to get worse if we don’t stop mining, industrial scale fishing, industrial agriculture, and so forth. This is important because most environmental discourse these days is about emissions, which — incidentally but I’m afraid not accidentally — are actually much easier to limit than it would be to stop ecocide in a million local places. In other words, one might hope to continue business as usual with another fuel source. That ain’t gonna happen. The changes we face are much bigger than finding a zero-carbon fuel source. That’s the “bad” news.

The good news is that if we practice regenerative agriculture and right relationship with all places and systems and biomes on the planet, the climate crisis is solvable. The healing potential is there. But it comes with no less a transition than into real respect for land, soil, water, and life in everything we do.

Isn’t it obvious that that is the transformation that the present crisis is calling us to make?​
– Charles Eisenstein

The visionary is the one who brings his or her voice into the world and who refuses to edit, rehearse, perform, or hide. It is the visionary who knows that the… power of creativity is aligned with authenticity.
– Angeles Arrien​

Remember​, we are mortal, but poetry is not.
– Patti Smith

But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage[…]
– Viktor E. Frankl

We might, after five centuries, actually listen to the only people who’ve ever successfully inhabited this continent for the long term.
– Bill McKibben

Geode
The plagues we wished upon ourselves
With aloe juice and cayenne
The planets we strained to reach
That was how being young tasted…
Each of us a geode looking to be cracked open
And to crack each other open
Over and over
I am no longer young except to those who are older
In the way that youth moves along
The conveyor belt
At a consistent distance
I drink water now
I try to be gentle
The years crack you open enough
– Alicia Jo Rabins

Yes, it is a rich language, Lieutenant, full of the mythologies of fantasy and hope and self-deception – a syntax opulent with tomorrows. It is our response to mud cabins and a diet of potatoes; our only method of replying to… inevitabilities.
– Brian Friel

…It drifts in from somewhere far away – a mirage of sound – a dream music that is both heard and imagined; that seems to be both itself and its own echo; a soun…d so alluring and so mesmeric that the afternoon is bewitched, maybe haunted, by it. And, what is so strange about that memory is that everybody seems to be floating on those sweet sounds , moving rhythmically, languorously, in complete isolation; responding more to the mood of the music than to its beat. When I remember it, I think of it as dancing. Dancing with eyes half closed because to open them would break the spell. Dancing as if language had surrendered to movement – as if this ritual, this wordless ceremony, was now the way to speak, to whisper private and sacred things, to be in touch with some otherness. dancing as if the very heart of life and all its hopes might be found in those assuaging notes and those hushed rhythms and in those silent and hypnotic movements. Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary…
– Brian Friel​

The weight of a man on a woman
is like falling into the river without drowning.

Above, the world is burning and fighting.
Lost worlds flow through others.

But down here beneath water’s skin,
river floor, sand, everything

is floating, rocking.
Water falls through our hands as we fall through it.

And when a woman and a man come up from water
they stand at the elemental edge of difference.

Mirrored on water’s skin,
they are fired clay, water evaporating into air.

They are where water turns away from land
and goes back to enter a larger sea.

A man and a woman are like those rivers,
entering a larger sea

greater than the sum of all its parts.

– Linda Hogan, Two​

The components of a creative life include wonder, deep curiosity, risk taking, careful criticism, experiment and love of life.
– Thomas Moore

Hope is a thin thing that often flutters out of sight but is there even in small measure to keep you alive.
– Thomas Moore

Authenticity is not just a word. It’s not just a trendy
concept. It’s not just a way to sell product. It’s a
heartcore path. It’s a perilous path. It’s a way of being
that is not influenced by political considerations, not
concerned with how it will be judged, not souling itself…
out for the mighty dollar. An authentic being bows
down before nothing untrue. (S)he owns her truth no
matter the consequences. (S)he is inspired from the
inside out. It’s time to reclaim the word ‘authentic,’
before it becomes as disingenuous as the words
‘enlightened’ and ‘spiritual’. It ain’t authentic unless
it’s nakedly true.​
– Jeff Brown

The days are long, but the years are short. Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.
– Gretchen Rubin

Today, I find new love in old things: I am a child, once again captivated for moments by the forest, the light, the occasional mountain snow, the wind, the wood, sounds—in love with the details of this natural world and this human life.
– Waylon Lewis​

The moment that judgement stops through acceptance of what it is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.
– Eckhart Tolle

I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations.
– David Bowie

The fastest way, the most powerful way, the most effective way to experience the characteristics of divinity is to be a cause of another person experiencing the characteristics of divinity.
– Neale Donald Walsch

The best part … of every mind is not that which he knows, but that which hovers in gleams, suggestions, tantalizing unpossessed before him.

His firm recorded knowledge soon loses all interest for him, but this dancing chorus of thoughts and hopes is the quarry of his future, is his possibility.

– Emerson

The buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.
– A. Edward Newton

Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act.
– Annie Besant​

Staying silent while you meditate is helpful. Staying silent during an election is not.
– Ethan Nichtern​

The theme you choose may change or simply elude you, but being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean.
– Toni Morrison

But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

An era can be considered over when its basic illusions have been exhausted.
– Arthur Miller

The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.
– Sylvia Boorstein​

Kindness is the only reasonable option. Think of all the times your clinging onto your own subtle aggression and judgments made you feel alone and separate from another human being… If we can have compassion and kindness, then perhaps we can break down our boundaries and learn to see the wisdom which every being possesses.
– Aric Parker

​Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. 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

The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around.
– Wendell Berry

What do you call
the muscle we long with? Spirit?
I don’t think so. Spirit is a far cry. This
is a casting outward which
unwinds inside the chest. A hole
which complements the heart.
The ghost of a chance.
– Don McKay

Our duty when confronted with a mystery is not to explain it, but to make it more mysterious.
– Lucian Blaga

Like a poet
I have come here to look for god.
– Cherríe Moraga

There is, however, a place reserved for the resurrections of the self, even when time disperses it in ever widening waves. That is the landscape. As landscape all events surround us, for we, the time of things, know no time. Nothing but the leaning of the trees, the horizon, the silhouetted mountain ridges, which suddenly awake full of meaning because they have placed us in their midst. The landscape transports us into their midst, the trembling treetops assail us with questions, the valleys envelop us with mist, incomprehensible houses oppress us with their shapes. We, their midpoint, impinge on them. But from all the time when we stand there quivering, one question remains: Are we time? Arrogance tempts us to answer yes-and then the landscape would vanish. We would be citizens. But the spell of the book bids us be silent. The only answer is that we set out on a path. As we advance, the same surroundings sanctify us. Knowing no answers but forming the center, we define things with the movement of our bodies. By drawing nigh and distancing ourselves once again on our wanderings, we single out trees and fields from their like and flood them with the time of our existence. We give firm definition to fields and mountains in their arbitrariness: they are our past existence–that was the prophecy of childhood. We are their future. Naked in this futurity, the landscape welcomes us … Exposed, it responds to the shudder of temporality with which we assault the landscape. Here we wake up and partake of the morning repast of youth. Things perceive us; their gaze propels us into the future, since we do not respond to them but instead step among them. Around us is the landscape where we rejected their appeal … Permeated by time, the landscape breathes before us, deeply stirred. We are safe in each other’s care, the landscape and I. We plunge from nakedness to nakedness. Gathered together, we come to ourselves.
– Walter Benjamin

There were a hundred thousand shapes and substances of incompleteness, wildly mingled out of their places, upside down, burrowing in the earth, aspiring in the air, mouldering in the water, and unintelligible as any dream.
– Charles Dickens

The somber flourishes of autumn–the bright
Or blighted leaves falling, the clicking of cold branches,
The new color of the sky, its random blue.
– Mark Strand

And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…
– Dylan Thomas

This Is Just To Say
– William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Doing the things that are beautiful & meaningful to you are paradoxically the things that will make a difference – not the conventional simple solutions that are failing.
– Charles Eisenstein

Even when muddy your wings sparkle bright wonders that heal broken worlds.
– Aberjhani

Yes, the only real hope of people today is probably a renewal of our certainty that we are rooted in the earth and, at the same time, in the cosmos. This awareness endows us with the capacity for self-transcendence. Politicians at international forums may reiterate a thousand times that the basis of the new world order must be universal respects for human rights, but it will mean nothing as long as this imperative does not derive from the respect of the miracle of Being, the miracle of the universe, the miracle of nature, the miracle of our own existence. Only someone who submits to the authority of the universal order and of creation, who values the right to be a part of it and a participant in it, can genuinely value himself and his neighbors, and thus honor their rights as well.
It logically follows that, in today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence:
-Transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe.
-Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world.
-Transcendence as the only real alternative to extinction.
The Declaration of Independence states that the Creator gave man the right to liberty. It seems man can realize that liberty only if he does not forget the One who endowed him with it.
– Václav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 4, 1994

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply

Very simply

With hope

Good morning.
– Maya Angelou

In all perceptions of the truth there is a divine ecstasy, an inexpressible delirium of joy, as when a youth embraces a beloved.
– Henry David Thoreau

These are pregnant times throughout the world. Just as in geology we have breaking lines between huge blocks of earth, so today we are at the juncture between great blocks of time. This is the place of storm and volcano — and of becoming. In today’s reality, a small act can have far-reaching consequences, beyond imagination, whereas things that will be done five or ten years from today will be so much less effective. This is precisely the meaning of pregnant times: Anything can be born. And this is exactly the time when one must not sleep.
– Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing.
But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul.
Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me.
There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied.

When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight,
the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks
— when you hear that unmistakable pounding —
when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement,
the long falls plunging and steaming –
then row,
row for your life
toward it.

– Mary Oliver

The poems we haven’t read
must be her fiercest;
imperfect, extreme.
As it is with love, its nights, its days.
It stands on top of the mountain
and looks for more mountain, steeper pitches.
Descent a thought impossible to imagine.
– Jane Hirshfield

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
– Rumi

Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind.
– Jack Kerouac

It is far more important to build a life than a resume… Try to do the right thing, despite the odds.
– Tom Tierney

Enjoy the world gently,

Enjoy the world gently,

If the world is spoilt,

No one can repair it,

Enjoy the world gently.

– Yoruba song

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Autumn
by Linda Pastan
I want to mention
summer ending
without meaning the death
of somebody loved
or even the death
of the trees.
Today in the market
I heard a mother say
Look at the pumpkins,
it’s finally autumn!
And the child didn’t think
of the death of her mother
which is due before her own
but tasted the sound
of the words on her clumsy tongue:
pumpkin; autumn.
Let the eye enlarge
with all it beholds.
I want to celebrate
color, how one red leaf
flickers like a match
held to a dry branch,
and the whole world goes up
in orange and gold.

Gift
By Czeslaw Milosz
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.

Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.

There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.

I knew no one worth envying him.

Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.

To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.

In my body I felt no pain.

When straightening up,
I saw the blue sea and sails.

The warrior renounces anything in his experience that is a barrier between himself and others.
– Chögyam Trungpa

You can’t have awakening when you reject your experience. Taking everything as your teacher is to value everything.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Read poetry, listen to classical music, study the visual arts, not for superficial reasons, but to create a contemplative life.
– Thomas Moore

I worship you, but I loathe marriage. I hate its smugness, its safety, its compromise and the thought of you interfering with my work, hindering me; what would you answer?
– Virginia Woolf

The way to write well is to live intensely.
– Virginia Woolf

Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.
– Virginia Woolf

There must be another life, she thought, sinking back into her chair, exasperated. Not in dreams; but here and now, in this room, with living people. She felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice with her hair blown back; she was about to grasp something that just evaded her. There must be another life, here and now, she repeated. This is too short, too broken. We know nothing, even about ourselves.
– Virginia Woolf

You can’t think how I depend on you, and when you’re not there the colour goes out of my life.
– Virginia Woolf

A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.
– Virginia Woolf

I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.
– Virginia Woolf

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is a proverb: “Better one hand full of quiet than two hands full of striving after wind.” Unpracticed in the art of quiet, we hope to find our safety, our belonging, and our healing by increasing our levels of accomplishment. But our frantic busyness actually makes us deaf to what is healing and sacred, both in ourselves and in one another.
– Legacy of the Heart by Wayne Muller

When your memories, things you’ve never disclosed to anyone, start appearing in your mind as you read the poem. When you discover that a poem links up to a chain of images from your own life like a song links up to its music video. And one more bellwether—when you read a poem, you ask yourself, ‘What is going on in me internally, to cause me to feel this way?’ I call this Fruitful Bewilderment, and it’s the only way I ever want my readers to feel bewildered.
– Max Ritvo

The hidden attunement is better than the obvious one.
– Herakleitos

Sometimes in the dark I find myself
in a place that I seem to have known
in another time
and I wonder
whether it has changed through
sunrises and sunsets that I never saw
whether the things that I remember
are still there where I remember them
would I know them even if my hand
touched them in this present darkness
would they know me and have they been
waiting for me all this time
in the dark
– W.S. Merwin

Man cannot afford to look at Nature directly, but only with the side of his eye. He must look through and beyond her . . . I should be the magnet in the midst of all this dust and iron filings . . . I must let my senses wander as my thoughts, my eyes see without looking. Be not preoccupied with looking. Go not to the object; let it come to you. What I need is not to look at all, but a true sauntering of the eye.
– Henry David Thoreau

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.

Song of a Man Who Has Come Through
Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the fine, fine wind that takes its course through the chaos of the world
Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.
Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.
– D.H. Lawrence

Many times I thought that if the particular tree . . . under which I was walking or riding were the only one like it in the country, it would be worth a journey across the continent to see it. Indeed, I have no doubt that such journeys would be undertaken on hearing a true account of it.
– Henry David Thoreau

Life is love over time.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

Without this world, we cannot attain enlightenment. Without this world, there would be no journey. By rejecting the world we would be rejecting the ground and rejecting the path. All our past history and all our neurosis is related with others in some sense. All our experiences are based on others, basically. As long as we have a sense of practice, some realization that we are treading on the path, every one of those little details, which are seemingly obstacles to us, becomes an essential part of the path. Without them, we cannot attain anything at all—we have no feedback, we have nothing to work with, absolutely nothing to work with. So in a sense all the things taking place around our world, all the irritations and all the problems, are crucial.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

There are among us men and women who are awakened, but it’s not enough; the masses are still sleeping. They cannot hear the ringing of the bells. We have built a system we cannot control.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

But magic is no instrument
Magic is the end
– Leonard Cohen

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of others.
– Albert Einstein

If I had the chance to live life over,
I would go more slowly – that’s for sure.
I wouldn’t put up such a fight
to have my way or prove I’m right
or overlay the world with my agenda.
I would open each day like a present,
tender toward what ever came my way –
every texture – joy or pain –
searing sun or healing rain,
for I have seen the masks of my Beloved.
– Kitana

If gold has been prized because it is the most inert element,
changeless and incorruptible,
water is prized for the opposite reason,
for its fluidity, mobility, changeability,
that make it a necessity
and a metaphor for life itself.

To value gold over water
is to value economy over ecology,
that which can be locked up
over that which connects all things.

– Rebecca Solnit

In this awful world where the efforts of caring people often pale in comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to stay involved and seemingly happy? I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world.
– Howard Zinn

The power of language remains, first and foremost, a way of singing oneself into contact with others and with the cosmos— a way of bridging the silence between oneself and another person, or a startled black bear, or the crescent moon soaring like a billowed sail above the roof.
Whether sounded on the tongue, printed on the page, or shimmering on the screen, language’s primary gift is not to re-present the world around us, but to call ourselves into the vital presence of that world— and into deep and attentive presence with one another…
– David Abram

It Takes A Village
It takes a village to raise a child,
a wisdom that is as well worn and loved
as your old leather shoes.
It also takes a village to separate
the myths from what is true,
the magicians out there are so damn good,
spinning their craft
so well paid
to narrate your story, your dreams, your spirituality
and your politics,
they count on you following them.
I mistook the gold and didn’t see
the cage,
though I longed for the fresh language
that was stripped of hierachy
and privilege,
the words that come from hunger
and are dirty,
so close to the ground,
the words I didn’t know until I saw you
leave your comfort with your one shred
of courage.
What if our true enlightenment is not
an awakening from
but an awakening to life?
What if who you are
is all that you need to be—
with your fear and your noisy mind,
offering your broken spark
the one perhaps needed
to tip the balance of the scale.
It takes a village to use
a good useful myth like
Tikkun Olam:
the repair of the world in which
each one of us holds a piece,
a spark—
the all-hands-on-deck summons
as steady as the heartbeat
that calls your name,
and walks only in your shoes,
speaking the language
only given you to speak;
or to hold the task that you knew
was yours to live:
as delicate as a bee’s wing
or as courageous
as the first one to bend your knee
on the ground,
silent and firm
before the disapproving crowds.
– Margo Stebbing

The eyes of the future are looking back at us,
and they are praying
that we might see beyond our own time.
They are kneeling with hands clasped
that we might act with restraint,
that we might leave room for the life
that is destined to come.
To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wildness we fear
is the pause between our own heart beats,
the silent space that says we live only by grace
wildness, wilderness lives by this same grace,
wild mercy is in our hands.
Let this be our prayer, reimagined.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Chogyam Trungpa – We can change the world, definitely. The problem is that we don’t smile when chaos occurs to us. When chaos occurs, even within that chaos, we can smile which cures confusion and resentment. Do you understand? – Great Eastern Sun

The Black Goddess is so far hardly more than a word of hope whispered among the few who have served apprenticeship to the White Goddess. She promises a new pacific bond between men and women, corresponding to a final reality of love, in which the patriarchal marriage bond will fade away.
− Robert Graves, Intimations of the Black Goddess

The subject of poetry is the certitude that, despite all possible doubts and difficulties, true lovers will one day reconcile lunar with solar time, imagination with reason, intuition with planning, honour with freedom; the male with the female mind. This happens only in a timeless now, which must not, however, be dismissed as a fanciful then by its participants: it is the now of wisdom, the poetic now, the now of the Black Goddess − of Wisdom as Night.
− Robert Graves, Poetic Craft and Principle

THE BLACK GODDESS
Silence, words into foolishness fading,
Silence prolonged, of thought so secret
We hush the sheep-bells and the loud cicada.
And your black agate eyes, wide open, mirror
The released firebird beating his way
Down a whirled avenue of blues and yellows.
Should I not weep?
Profuse the berries of love,
The speckled fish, the filberts and white ivy
Which you, with a half-smile, bestow
On your delectable broad land of promise
For me, who never before went gay in plumes.
− Robert Graves (1964)

Woman with her forests, moons, flowers, waters,
And watchful fingers:
We claim no magic comparable to hers −
At best, poets; at worst, sorcerers.
− Robert Graves

…Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.
– D.H. Lawrence

Words are our accomplices, our traitors, our allies. We have to make use of them, spy on them, we should be able to purify them. This is the dream of philosophers and poets.
– Hélène Cixous

What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.
– Walt Whitman

The distance of your love is the distance of your life. Love is exactly as strong as life.
– Joseph Campbell

You can’t improve the things you love if you never allow them to be imperfect. Thinking in this way, if you looked hard enough so that you saw every flaw in every example, you would soon find that nothing matched your expectations or deserved your definitions, and the membership of every group and category you hold dear would drop to zero.
To match the complexity of your conscious experience and y…our unconscious processing, to deal with the constant confusion bombarding your senses and the noisy chatter of the agencies within your mind, you’ve developed the ability to knit everything together into something simpler and less accurate, something less informative but more entertaining, and most times more useful.
– David McRaney

Here it is–right now.
Start thinking about it
and you miss it.
– Huang Po

Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.
– Rumi

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the humanity of every one of its members. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a true person must be a nonconformist. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. Insist on yourself; never imitate. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No person yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. What is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every person is unique. Is not a person better than a town? Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

When people talk I tend to follow the words, but I should become more aware of the tune.
– William Stafford

We must shift our allegiances from fear to curiosity, from attachment to letting go, from control to trust, and from entitlement to humility.
– Angeles Arrien

Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.
– Swedish Proverb

Commitment to the possibility of kindness cannot be discarded as foolish or irrelevant, even in troubling times when we often can’t find easy answers. If we abandon the force of kindness as we confront cruelty, we won’t learn anything to take into tomorrow–not from history, not from one another, not from life.
– Sharon Salzberg

Violence is inconceivable if everyone is genuinely concerned with the happiness of others.
– Matthieu Ricard

In one single day and one single night, God deals with a hundred thousand things : He takes away a whole people, He separates those who were close and scatters each of them in a different country, then He raises the wave of the sea of destiny and reunites those who were separated.
– Rumi

It’s easy to stand against something; it’s harder to stand for something.

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth, not the sky. Instead of transcending the suf…fering of all creatures, we move towards turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away.

If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear.

At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhihitta. Bodhichitta is our heart – our wounded softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings.
– Pema Chodron

Nobody knows what is wrong with me. Nothing helps me–neither the sunlight, nor the warmth, nor books, nor my work. I walk down Boulevard Montparnasse facing the sun, blinded by it, my black cape floating behind me. My sadness is so strong that my body aches.
– Anais Nin

Don’t Buy the Manufactured Dreams. Dream Your Own.

Consider these three instructions of the Buddha:

1. Abstain from games and shows.

2. Guard the eyes from the seduction of visual pleasure.

3. Sit alone in a quiet place. Imagine a mind-made body. Withdraw the mind-made body from the body the way a sword is withdrawn from its sheath, or the way a snake sheds its worn out skin. View the world from the perspective of the mind-made body. Imagine the mind-made body looking down upon the body, thinking, “This is impermanent. See how it suffers. Soon it will die.” Now imagine the mind-made body traveling around the universe seeing stars and planets, thinking, “These are impermanent. They will soon decay into dark, dead matter.”

How many hours of beautiful imaginings can be conjured from just these short texts. How many beautiful self-created images can be created from these succinct instructions? Doesn’t the experience of sitting alone creating one’s own moving images make the experience of sitting in front of prefabricated images seem like idiocy by comparison? What kind of mind requires a machine to present images to it? Has it lost the capacity to create its own images? Has it become so devoid of imagination that it can no longer dream its own dreams, and must have prefabricated dreams reproduced by machine?

Those who profit from selling us food would like us to forget food comes from the ground. They want us to believe food comes in cellophane packages. They want us to rely on them to make our food for us, so we forget how to grow food for ourselves.

Those who profit from selling us dreams would like us to forget dreams come from minds. They want us to believe dreams come on cellophane reels. They want us to rely on them to make our dreams for us, so we forget how to make dreams for ourselves.

Don’t buy the manufactured food. Grow your own.

Don’t buy the manufactured dreams. Dream your own.

Primary texts:

It is just as if a man were to draw out a reed from its sheath. He might think: “This is the reed, this is the sheath, reed and sheath are different. Now the reed has been pulled from the sheath.” … In the same way a monk with mind concentrated directs his mind to the production of a mind-made body. He draws that body out of this body.
Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 2 (Samaññaphala Sutta), verse 86, p. 104

A chariot, king, is a person’s body:
The soul is the driver, the senses his horses;
Undistracted by his fine horses a driver
Who is skilled rides happily, if they are trained.
Mahābhārata 5(51)34:57, as translated by J. A. B. van Buitenen, p. 264

Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins remain addicted to attending such shows as dancing, singing, music, displays, recitations, hand-music, cymbals and drums, fairy-shows, acrobatic and conjuring tricks, combats of elephants, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quail, fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, sham-fights, parades, manoeuvres and military reviews, the ascetic Gotama refrains from attending such displays.
– Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 1.13

No matter how hurtfully others behave, they cannot make me react with meanness. The more unkindness people showed to me, the more understanding I give to them. … That self-control has tremendous power. Never allow your voice to be harsh out of anger or vengefulness. Like a flower, shed petals of kindness when you are aggravated by others or attacked by the evil in them. By self-control and right behavior you will ultimately realize that you are part of the Eternal Good; you do not belong anymore to the wrong ways of this world.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act.
– The Buddha

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, or cannot achieve. Just don’t allow it. It’s wrong. It’s so wrong. Be what you want to be — and prove them wrong.
– Emma Watson​

The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all I do in my own practice.
– Ajahn Chah

Genuine love is friendship. Genuine love resides only in the present moment. Genuine love is everyday. Genuine love feels no need to entertain the space away. Genuine love is up, genuine love is down and yet genuine love never wavers.
– Waylon Lewis

She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.
– Roman Payne

There are so many unsung heroines and heroes at this broken moment in our collective story, so many courageous persons who, unbeknownst to themselves, are hold…ing together the world by their resolute love or contagious joy. Although I do not know your names, I can feel you out there.
– David Abram​

…Today the planet is the only proper “in group.”
Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.
You must return with the bliss and integrate it….
The return is seeing the radiance is everywhere.
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.
Sanctify the place you are in.
Follow your bliss. . . .
– Joseph Campbell​

Enlightenment is not something other than our humanness, it is the fruition of our humanness. It is also the innate potential of every human being, our birthright. In the following pages, I present the individuation of the self, the transcendence of the self, the transformation of the body and the deepening capacity for relationship with other life as equally important, concurrent aspects of the realization of fundamental consciousness.

Although I have studied many different …spiritual philosophies and disciplines, I am not aligned with any one school. My main teacher has been the path itself: the unfolding of my own realization. The argument about what the experience of realization signifies about the nature of reality, and what truly constitutes enlightenment is as vigorous in our society today as it was in ancient India. I believe that this is a valuable dialogue. We now have access to all of the world’s wisdom on this subject, as well as to the contemporary Western knowledge of psychology. But most importantly, we have access to the mysterious, natural source of wisdom within our own being.
– Judith Blackstone​

People are more comfortable with old problems than they are with new solutions.
– John Maxwell

Tapas” (Sanskrit) is based on the root Tap (तप्) meaning “to heat, to give out warmth, to shine, to burn.

Rumi — ‘The result of my life is no more than three words: I was raw, I became cooked, I was burnt.’

The weather varies between heavy fog and pale sunshine; My thoughts follow the exact same process.
– Virginia Woolf

The spiritual function of fierce terrain…is to bring us to the end of ourselves, to the abandonment of language and the relinquishment of ego. A vast expanse of jagged stone, desert sand, and towering thunderheads has a way of challenging all the mental constructs in which we are tempted to take comfort and pride, thinking we have captured the divine. The things that ignore us save us in the end.
– Belden Lane

A spirit that lives in this world
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.
– Rumi​

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
– Lao Tzu​

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.
– Yeats​

The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.
– Norman Vincent Peale​

Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.
– Gary Snyder​

Think with your whole body.
– Taisen Deshimaru

I put the words down and push them a bit.
– Evelyn Waugh

That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.
– Aphra Behn…

SUCH SILENCE
As deep as I ever went into the forest
I came upon an old stone bench, very, very old,
and around it a clearing, and beyond that
trees taller and older than I had ever seen.

Such silence!
It really wasn’t so far from a town, but it seemed
all the clocks in the world had stopped counting.
So it was hard to suppose the usual rules applied.

Sometimes there’s only a hint, a possibility.
What’s magical, sometimes, has deeper roots
than reason.
I hope everyone knows that.

I sat on the bench, waiting for something.
An angel, perhaps.
Or dancers with the legs of goats.

No, I didn’t see either. But only, I think, because
I didn’t stay long enough.
– Mary Oliver

Tsewa is the open heart, warm feelings being expressed from our heart to others. This heart is yours, whether it stays open or closed is your choice. If it stays closed because of circumstances, that is your choice, not the outcome of circumstances. Otherwise, no one could forgive, no one could be healed, no buddhas could go beyond. So you can do that too, because you have the same heart.

Negative thinking is the one thing that damages our potential to live well in this world. There is nothing greater to be lost than our ability to open our hearts. If you remain open to all, you will be touched by the world and greatly enriched by the world. My request to you is to really think about how you could increase your tsewa and keep your heart open at all times, especially in conditions where it is threatened, and to spread tsewa all over the world with everyone you meet.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

My only two weapons: time and silence
– Juan Ramón Jiménez

If I had one day left to live, I wouldn’t want to circle the world or sail the seas. I might wash my hair, play cards, clear the dinner table, fight with my sister, say my prayers and go to sleep.
– Karen Maezen Miller

You cannot seek water
from the one
who drained your seas,
and you cannot build
a home for your worth
inside of another being.
The medicine is when
you return to yourself
where you will remember
your strength,
reclaim your own rhythm,
and write your new song.
– Victoria Erickson

When a warrior learns how to toss self-importance aside, his spirit unfolds, jubilant, like a wild animal liberated from its cage and set free.
– Carlos Castaneda

As the political rhetoric of this election season becomes more and more shrill, I find myself more and more confident that the only thing that can save us is the cultivation of uncertainty, of questioning, of openness to the world, to the possibility of being mistaken. Is there a more poetic moment than the moment when someone says to someone else — with feeling, with sincerity — “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’ll try harder to understand how you see things.” To be able to do that, each of us has to cultivate space for the mysterious, for unknowing. Call it an inner life; call it whatever works for you — perhaps it’s a space within us being made ready for the stars.
– Tod Marshall

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.
– Carl Sagan

when the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about
ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
– rumi

Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself, – a temple open to the sky, consecrated to the service of the gods?
– Henry David Thoreau

People got dirty through too much civilization.
whenever we touch NATURE, we get clean.
– C.G. JUNG

First light. The arc of the old moon was rising
in a windy dawn that quickly grew behind it.
Silver-bright at first, it dimmed and thinned
till it was lost in a vast radiance.
What happens every day is what’s surprising.
The treasure’s never where I look to find it
but where I simply look—the sky, the wind,
sunrise, a silver arc, the moment’s chance.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Time and again, as a reader, I return to these words:
“If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us”
– Franz Kafka

[…] a poem is troubled into its making. It’s not a thing that blooms; it’s a thing that wounds.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

Already sundown has passed you and follows me up the road,
Color of dragonfly wings.
On the other side, as I start down,
                      it passes me too,
Your voice now flat as a handkerchief
Folded away for miles in its pine drawer.
– Charles Wright

Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

In the deep space of the eye,
                            the wash and drift of oblivion
Sifting the color out,
                             polishing, still polishing
Long after translucence comes.
– Charles Wright

My wound existed before me…
– Gilles Deleuze

Sometimes a voice—have you heard this?—
wants not to be voice any longer, wants something
whispering between the words, some
rumour of its former life. Sometimes, even
in the midst of making sense or conversation, it will
hearken back to breath, or even farther,
to the wind, and recognize itself
as troubled air, a flight path still
looking for its bird.
– Don McKay

There are spirits that come back to us
when we have grown into another age
we recognize them just as they leave us
we remember them when we cannot hear them
some of them come from the bodies of birds
some arrive unnoticed like forgetting
they do not recall earlier lives
and there are distant voices still hoping to find us
– W.S. Merwin

We thought we would recall the single place
we had set out for and forget the rest
but it is the going we remember
it is the way that comes along with us
and with no one else now and the place
we set out for was not there even then
it had already been forgotten there
yet we remember the river we crossed
the stone bridge and old trees where it left us
and the small bluebird above us with its
hidden nest to which it was bringing back
what it had found where did we go from there
nothing we saw then ever had a name
and the river flowed on behind us.
– W.S. Merwin

When we have a feeling that life is worthwhile and we are worthwhile, from that, a sense of softness or gentleness begins to develop. It is like watering the seeds in a garden. In this case, the gentleness that develops is like the moisture that helps a seed to grow so that the greenery will unfold and flowers will blossom. Then, beyond that, you develop confidence. The ordinary sense of confidence is confidence in something, which is conditional or qualified. But in this case, gentleness and softness give rise to an unconditional feeling that is awake, brilliant, and warm. When we have both moisture and warmth, we know that the plant will definitely grow. That confidence is the seed that we should share with the rest of the world.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

A story must be judged according to whether it makes sense. And ‘making sense’ must be here understood in its most direct meaning: to make sense is to enliven the senses. A story that makes sense is one that stirs the senses from their slumber, one that opens the eyes and the ears to their real surroundings, tuning the tongue to the actual tastes in the air and sending chills of recognition along the surface of the skin. To make sense is to release the body from the constraints imposed by outworn ways of speaking, and hence to renew and rejuvenate one’s felt awareness of the world. It is to make the senses wake up to where they are.
– David Abram

SUNRISE
Sunrise, as you enter the houses of everyone here, find us.
We’ve been crashing for days, or has it been years.
Find us, beneath the shadow of this yearning mountain, crying here.
We have been sick with sour longings, and the jangling of fears.
Our spirits rise up in the dark, because they hear,
Doves in cottonwoods calling forth the sun.
We struggled with a monster and lost.
Our bodies were tossed in the pile of kill.
We rotted there.
We were ashamed and we told ourselves for a thousand years
We didn’t deserve anything but this–
And one day, in relentless eternity, our spirits discerned
movement of prayers
Carried toward the sun.
And this morning we are able to stand with all the rest
And welcome you here.
We move with the lightness of being, and we will go
Where there’s a place for us.
– Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

I sat inside a room with nothing in it and realized it was still full. This is when I knew I was enough.
– Rudy Francisc

Our world needs more time to wonder and to reflect about what is inside… And often television gives such constant distraction… which doesn’t allow us to take time to explore the deeper levels of who we are—and who we can become.
– M. Rogers

Anyone who feels that wisdom has failed in our age need only enter a library. They will find there the recorded thoughts of hundreds of men and women who believed in a larger world than the one defined in each generation by human failure. They will find literature, which teaches us, again and again, how to reimagine the world.
– Barry Lopez, from a longer statement supporting libraries

We melt into each other with phrases.
We are edged with mist.
We make an unsubstantial territory.
– Virginia Woolf

I shun the straight roads well worn paths lead to no truths i’d rather wander.
– Nathan “Kitt” Rom

When we practice maitri (metta) meditation we extend loving kindness to people we love, to ourselves, to the “neutral” people, and even to our “enemies”. For some of us, being kind to ourselves can be even more challenging than being kind to our “enemies”
– David Nichtern

Prayer clears the mist and brings back peace to the soul.
– Rumi

We are in this together. That’s not just words. The truth is, at some level, when you hurt, when your children hurt, I hurt. I hurt. And when my kids hurt, you hurt. I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can’t even understand.
It’s beyond intellect. It’s a spiritual, emotional thing.
– Bernie Sanders

HEARTBREAK
is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight.
Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.
Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.
…If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look carefully for it and to make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and strangely perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, to see it as its own reward.
Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go.
– David Whyte

Just as you would try to protect the flame of a lamp by covering it with your hands – you want to protect the mind that sustains a state of equanimity, silence, and simplicity.
– Khandro Rinpoche

You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.
– Alan Watts

The Miracle of Autumn
To walk in the early morning on what appears as another ordinary Sunday, with the summer and the fall still in dialogue about who will take it from here. Looking up into the unfolding sky, it is so clear that I know nothing at all, that I have no idea what the beloved wants of me, until she whispers it through the birds, through the falling leaves, through the orangeness of orange, the yellowness of yellow, and through this body as it feels the shakiness of being wildly alive.
Each arising moment, more revelation as to how little I actually know, other than this erupting now moment and this tender heart, raw and unprotected from love and its sweet and fierce activity. I really hope to make it all the way through this day, and to be in awe at what might be shown tomorrow. But if not, for now I am left only with an unexplainable, erupting gratitude to have been shown even a tiny sliver of love. I have been given so much.
It is early morning in the mountains – and fall is arriving. Something new is asking to be met, to be allowed, to be held in and as luminous awareness. Whatever form arises into translucent consciousness is revealed to be none other than that consciousness itself. It is breathtaking, really, to watch as love emerges as this sensual world, as these feelings, as these colors, all laid out as one harvest feast of grace for lover and beloved and their union.
To be here in this special world is the only miracle. We’ve been given everything we need: a beating heart to feel so much, arms to reach out and hold another close, words to speak kindness, and eyes to gaze sweetly into the depths of our lovers. Behold the grace-harvest that is this life, and the endless bounty of love as it emerges out of the unknown and takes shape as the miracle of autumn.
– Matt Licata

Yom Kippur 1984
BY ADRIENNE RICH

I drew solitude over me, on the long shore.
—Robinson Jeffers, “Prelude”

For whoever does not afflict his soul through this day, shall be
cut off from his people.
—Leviticus 23:29

What is a Jew in solitude?
What would it mean not to feel lonely or afraid
far from your own or those you have called your own?
What is a woman in solitude: a queer woman or man?
In the empty street, on the empty beach, in the desert
what in this world as it is can solitude mean?

The glassy, concrete octagon suspended from the cliffs
with its electric gate, its perfected privacy
is not what I mean
the pick-up with a gun parked at a turn-out in Utah or the Golan Heights
is not what I mean
the poet’s tower facing the western ocean, acres of forest planted to the east, the woman reading in the cabin, her attack dog suddenly risen
is not what I mean

Three thousand miles from what I once called home
I open a book searching for some lines I remember
about flowers, something to bind me to this coast as lilacs in the dooryard once
bound me back there—yes, lupines on a burnt mountainside,
something that bloomed and faded and was written down
in the poet’s book, forever:
Opening the poet’s book
I find the hatred in the poet’s heart: . . . the hateful-eyed
and human-bodied are all about me: you that love multitude may have them

Robinson Jeffers, multitude
is the blur flung by distinct forms against these landward valleys
and the farms that run down to the sea; the lupines
are multitude, and the torched poppies, the grey Pacific unrolling its scrolls of surf,
and the separate persons, stooped
over sewing machines in denim dust, bent under the shattering skies of harvest
who sleep by shifts in never-empty beds have their various dreams
Hands that pick, pack, steam, stitch, strip, stuff, shell, scrape, scour, belong to a brain like no other
Must I argue the love of multitude in the blur or defend
a solitude of barbed-wire and searchlights, the survivalist’s final solution, have I a choice?

To wonder far from your own or those you have called your own
to hear strangeness calling you from far away
and walk in that direction, long and far, not calculating risk
to go to meet the Stranger without fear or weapon, protection nowhere on your mind
(the Jew on the icy, rutted road on Christmas Eve prays for another Jew
the woman in the ungainly twisting shadows of the street: Make those be a woman’s footsteps; as if she could believe in a woman’s god)

Find someone like yourself. Find others.
Agree you will never desert each other.
Understand that any rift among you
means power to those who want to do you in.
Close to the center, safety; toward the edges, danger.
But I have a nightmare to tell: I am trying to say
that to be with my people is my dearest wish
but that I also love strangers
that I crave separateness
I hear myself stuttering these words
to my worst friends and my best enemies
who watch for my mistakes in grammar
my mistakes in love.
This is the day of atonement; but do my people forgive me?
If a cloud knew loneliness and fear, I would be that cloud.

To love the Stranger, to love solitude—am I writing merely about privilege
about drifting from the center, drawn to edges,
a privilege we can’t afford in the world that is,
who are hated as being of our kind: faggot kicked into the icy river, woman dragged from her stalled car
into the mist-struck mountains, used and hacked to death
young scholar shot at the university gates on a summer evening walk, his prizes and studies nothing, nothing availing his Blackness
Jew deluded that she’s escaped the tribe, the laws of her exclusion, the men too holy to touch her hand; Jew who has turned her back
on midrash and mitzvah (yet wears the chai on a thong between her breasts) hiking alone
found with a swastika carved in her back at the foot of the cliffs (did she die as queer or as Jew?)

Solitude, O taboo, endangered species
on the mist-struck spur of the mountain, I want a gun to defend you
In the desert, on the deserted street, I want what I can’t have:
your elder sister, Justice, her great peasant’s hand outspread
her eye, half-hooded, sharp and true

And I ask myself, have I thrown courage away?
have I traded off something I don’t name?
To what extreme will I go to meet the extremist?
What will I do to defend my want or anyone’s want to search for her spirit-vision
far from the protection of those she has called her own?
Will I find O solitude
your plumes, your breasts, your hair
against my face, as in childhood, your voice like the mockingbird’s
singing Yes, you are loved, why else this song?
in the old places, anywhere?

What is a Jew in solitude?
What is a woman in solitude, a queer woman or man?
When the winter flood-tides wrench the tower from the rock, crumble the prophet’s headland, and the farms slide into the sea
when leviathan is endangered and Jonah becomes revenger
when center and edges are crushed together, the extremities crushed together on which the world was founded
when our souls crash together, Arab and Jew, howling our loneliness within the tribes
when the refugee child and the exile’s child re-open the blasted and forbidden city
when we who refuse to be women and men as women and men are chartered, tell our stories of solitude spent in multitude
in that world as it may be, newborn and haunted, what will solitude mean?
1984-1985

There is nothing I want but your presence.
In friendship, time dissolves.
– Rumi

The fear we are presented with when life agrees to hold up everything we think we have ever wanted and feared to lose? It is you, so far.
– Waylon Lewis

There are rich counsels in the trees.
– Herbert P. Horne

…A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.
Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.
How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.
– William Stafford

Was it the ghost of autumn in that smell / Of underground, or God’s blank heart grown kind,
– Siegfried Sassoon

the old words all deepen the great absence
the vastness of all that has been lost
it is still there when the poet is exile
looks up long ago hearing the voices
of wild geese far above him flying home
– W.S. Merwin

As we crossed the Colorado-Utah border I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, “Pass here and go on, you’re on the road to heaven.
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.
– Shams Tabrizi

Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us—and those around us—more effectively. Look for the learning.
– Louisa May Alcott

People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.
– James Baldwin

…from now on
You won’t find me
At ports or on trains
But in public libraries
Sleeping on maps of Europe

Where my mouth touches rivers

And my tears run across continents.
– Muhammad Al-Maghut

Happy Valley
BY ALICE LYONS
The brook is this mix of roar & hiss as if God
has managed to scalpel a section of tempest & clothespin it in
the woods Over There Always draped in the trees
while we eat white summer peaches from celadon bowls
while the sun bleaches & blue jay squawks score the maple, oak
birch and apple-treed sky with their oblique Scriabin musics.
Fifteen years since I have seen a real Fall
her deciduous burlesque, her glistering things sifting
on the old cider mill. A holy show.
I hold a wooden fragrance & a sodden mush of crushed
flowing apples in a cache and will never give it up.
The cardinal is the best bird because it is a red mark
on the blank snow amid the charcoal Twombly of maple, oak
birch and apple branches. Pines are green & faraway, don’t figure.
My sister in spring is even prettier, her smile
the genuine quality of it undiminished in the many months
since I have been in Happy Valley. It roars and is constantly
in spate because it has its reasons spring being spring plus my visiting.

For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat the flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. Such are the autumn people.
– Ray Bradbury

We try to abolish intervals by our manic insistence on keeping busy, on doing something. And as a result, all we succeed in doing is destroying all hope of tranquility. … . You have to learn to immerse yourself in the silences between.
– Lyall Watson

Someone
A man worn down by time,
a man who does not even expect death
(the proofs of death are statistics
and everyone runs the risk
of being the first immortal),
a man who has learned to express thanks
for the days’ modest alms:
sleep, routine, the taste of water,
an unsuspected etymology,
a Latin or Saxon verse,
the memory of a woman who left him
thirty years ago now
whom he can call to mind without bitterness,
a man who is aware that the present
is both future and oblivion,
a man who has betrayed
and has been betrayed,
may feel suddenly, when crossing the street,
a mysterious happiness
not coming from the side of hope
but from an ancient innocence,
from his own root or from some diffuse god.

He knows better than to look at it closely,
for there are reasons more terrible than tigers
which will prove to him
that wretchedness is his duty,
but he accepts humbly
this felicity, this glimmer.

Perhaps in death when the dust
is dust, we will be forever
this undecipherable root,
from which will grow forever,
serene or horrible,
or solitary heaven or hell.
– Jorge Luis Borges

To be in samsara is to think that there are dead things-that don’t matter; and of course it extends all the way up to the people. We don’t even see people as people, let alone the rest of the manifest universe. To be an awake person-to be a person who is abiding in themselves truly-is to realize that every moment of our life we’re meeting a sacred other; and a sacred other with whom we are in relationship, to whom we are called into intimacy.
– Reggie Ray

A few really dedicated people can offset the ill effects of masses of out-of-harmony people, so we who work for peace must not falter. We must continue to pray for peace and to act for peace in whatever way we can, we must continue to speak for peace and to live the way of peace; to inspire others, we must continue to think of peace and to know that peace is possible. What we dwell upon we help bring into manifestation. One little person, giving all her time to peace, makes news. Many people, giving some of their time, can make history.

The sanctuary of peace dwells within. Seek it out and all things will be added to you. We’re coming closer and closer to the time when enough of us will have found inner peace to affect our institutions for the better. And as soon as this happens the institutions will in turn, through example, affect for the better those who are still immature.
– Peace Pilgrim

There is a spark of good in everybody, no matter how deeply it may be buried. It is the real you. When I say ‘you’ what am I really thinking of? Am I thinking of the clay garment, the body? No, that’s not the real you. Am I thinking of the self-centered nature? No, that’s not the real you. The real you is that divine spark, some call this the God-centered nature, others the divine nature and the Kingdom of God within. Hindus know it as nirvana; Buddhists refer to it as the awakened soul; the Quakers see it as the Inner Light. In other places it is known as the Christ in you, the Christ Consciousness, the hope of glory, or the indwelling spirit. Even some psychologists have a name for it, the superconscious. But it is all the same thing dressed in different words. The important thing to remember is that it dwells within you!
– Peace Pilgrim

My Friend
I had a friend who battled for the truth
With stubborn heart and obstinate despair,
Till all his beauty left him, and his youth,
And there were few to love him anywhere.
Then would he wander out among the graves,
And think of dead men lying in a row;
Or, standing on a cliff observe the waves,
And hear the wistful sound of winds below;

And yet they told him nothing. So he sought
The twittering forest at the break of day,
Or on fantastic mountains shaped a thought
As lofty and impenitent as they.

And next he went in wonder through a town
Slowly by day and hurriedly by night,
And watched men walking up the street and down
With timorous and terrible delight.

Weary, he drew man’s wisdom from a book,
And pondered on the high words spoken of old,
Pacing a lamplit room: but soon forsook
The golden sentences that left him cold.

After, a woman found him, and his head
Lay on her breast, till he forgot his pain
In gentle kisses on a midnight bed,
And welcomed royal-winged joy again.

When love became a loathing, as it must,
He knew not where to turn; and he was wise,
Being now old, to sink among the dust,
And rest his rebel heart, and close his eyes.
– James Elroy Flecker

At the heart of any language, then, is the poetic productivity of expressive speech. A living language is continually being made and remade, woven out of the silence by those who speak.… And this silence is that of our wordless participations, of our perceptual immersion in the depths of an animate, expressive world.
– David Abram

I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to comprehend words of wounding without these words becoming the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of the stars.
– Terry Tempest Williams

…Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
– John O’Donohue

And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again – so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.
– Jack Canfield

We are not tempted to feel sorry for you but to wish that your life situation might tighten its screws on you and force you to let what resides in you come out, might begin that more rigorous examination that is not satisfied with chatter and witticism.
– Soren Kierkegaard

How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings – to foraging black bears and twisted old cypresses – that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world…Small wonder that rivers and forests no longer compel our focus or our fierce devotion. For we walk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them.
– David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.
– David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

For some, it is endlessly holding a shaky finger on a little leak in the inflatable lifeboat. For others, it is becoming a dolphin.
– James Scott Smith

You can get righteous about your altruism, righteous about your vegetarianism, and this can be an obstacle to your progress. It is like Longchenpa wrote, “Chains of gold or iron are equally binding”.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing: you wouldn’t be an artist if you didn’t want to share an experience, a thought.
– David Hockney

We remember it by feel. We experience it as a murmur in the night, a longing and restlessness that we can’t name, a yearning that tugs at us. Something in our human blood is still searching for it, still listening, still remembering. Nicaraguan poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal wrote, “We have always wanted something beyond what we wanted.”  I have loved those words, how they speak to the longing place inside us that seeks to be whole and connected to the earth.
 – Linda Hogan

On the windless days, when the maples have put forth their deep canopies, and the sky is wearing its new blue immensities, and the wind has dusted itself not an hour ago in some spicy field and hardly touches us as it passes by, what is it we do? We lie down and rest upon the generous earth. Very likely we fall asleep.
 – Mary Oliver

AN INVENTORY OF MOONS
If you live to be very old, you may see twelve hundred full moons. Some come in winter and you trudge out into the deep snow to stand beneath their glow. Others come to you in the city and you take an elevator up to the roof of the highest building and set out a couple of folding chairs to watch it glide across the sky. Or the moon finds you along a foreign shore and you paddle out in some dingy and scoop its reflection from the waters and drink it down. The moons of your old age are the most potent but seem few and far between. They make their way into your marrow and teach it how to hum. When your final moon arrives, it’s as if youth has come back to you. Though instead of flaunting its yellow hat, now it’s dressed in black.
 – David Shumate

what do you remember as you ride your one note
on its dark sunbeam out into the daylight
your note is the time of your radiance
arriving once just as the sun does
but where were you before now where did you
come from before you were today
– W.S. Merwin

The poet leans on some tree, or sea, or slope, or cloud of a certain hue for a moment during his life, if circumstance smoothes the road. He’s not welded to others’ confusion. His love, his grasp, his joy have their match in all places he’s never been, nor will ever go, in strangers he’ll never know.
– René Char

… with this autumn wind’s sound,
I find myself waiting for you.
– Izumi Shikibu

Because it thinks by music and image, by story and passion and voice, poetry can do what other forms of thinking cannot: approximate the actual flavor of life.
– Jane Hirshfield

…I want to bump
into your hard places
tear my skin
on your rough edges.
I want to roll
in your soft grasses

crawl on my belly

through your loamy thickets

float aimless in your warm waters.

I want to find the places

where we are hiding in the Other,

the places where we are waiting.

- Bill Plotkin

What initiates us also strips us down to the inner essentials and releases qualities and powers that were hidden within.
– Michael Meade

We believe Somewhere Else is out there for us if only we could find it. But there’s no Somewhere Else. Everything is right here…Make this your paradise or make this your hell. The choice is entirely yours. Really.
– Brad Warner

Whether seen as guardian angel or inner muse, as divine twin or the genius within us, the resident spirit of the soul gives each person their unique way of being and perceiving life. In that sense, everyone has a genius nature and something essential to give to the world. When connected to an innate sense of “dharma” or genuine service to the world, human genius can become a light shining forth in a time of darkness.
– Michael Meade

Make sure when you say you’re in it but not of it you’re not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell. Change your words into truth and then change that truth into love and maybe our children’s grandchildren and their great-grandchildren will tell.
– S. Wonder

realization
real-eyes-ache-shown.
shone
there is the idea of drinking tea.
and then there is the water to bring to the boil,
the tea leaves,
the cup,
how many actually
drink from the cup?
not many.
There are alot of sleeping dreaming drinkers.
But who really drinks?
Who risks the heat needed to make the water boil?
Who risks pouring the hot water into the cup?
Who risks tasting?
Who risks such activity?
And then who can possibly share it?
Again and again the tea must be made
and the tea must be drunk.
But truly.
Not just in a dream.
Who can really do that?
Who can really touch and see and hear and taste and smell?
Who can really love?
Do you know how rare it is?
Really.
Consider this carefully.
– Belle Heywood

The widespread assumption that ethical behavior takes the fun out of life is false. In actuality, living ethically ensures that relationships in our lives, including encounters with strangers, nurture our spiritual growth.
– bell hooks, from ‘All About Love: New Visions’

Love is the strongest force in the universe. We must keep walking in the direction of love, no matter what we hear and see around us. No matter our human failures. No matter what happens, or appears to happen.And if we are thankful for that love, the power magnifies. Forgiveness is a process of love. Love is not bound by religion, belief system, or man-made laws. Our human minds cannot comprehend the immensity of it. We are lit by it, or we would not be here. Some smother the light with fear and acts of fear. Others tend their light and they light the world. Breath feeds the light. Breathe deep today, and continue walking toward that which will enlighten, no matter what burdens you are carrying of shame, grief, or fear. No one can buy their way or push their way ahead of everyone else. We are all in this together.
– Joy Harjo

Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers.
– The Dalai Lama

WAITING TO GO ON

I lay a handful of walnuts
to dry by the fire,
pile six new apples in a bowl
and wiping the cutting boards
to a woody gleam, clear off
the fine needles
and nubby stalks
that fell from mushrooms
I found this morning,
walking the woods.

I drop potatoes into
soft, simmering water
then lower the oven
to a ticking heat
and turning to the beautiful
stark inviting coldness
of the hearth,
set down
in the fireplace torn paper
and pine cones,
kindling and logs
and kneeling,
coax small flames
to life,
sweeping the hearth
of dust and ash,
and still kneeling
next to the fire

just beginning
to snap,
I listen behind me
to the slow tick
of the oven expanding,
to a different time,
another measure…

– David Whyte

At the Turn of the Day
At the turn of the day you must agree to one thing:
To love this world more than you fear it.
Go forward with your disappointments. Watch

how even the light chooses a place to die, beautifully. We

can never know what becomes of unutterable

questions, or why we were made for this particular life and

not another. 
I find it useful to be delighted:

something just happened that I can’t explain.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Why be against anything? Give your precious energy to what you care for. It changes everything.
– Petkovski Dalibor

I came to realize clearly that mind is nothing other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars.
– DOGEN, Shobogenzo

In the story “Hikai no Go,” in the Yamato Monogatari, the protagonist announces that a poem will be composed that requires a final hemstitch and asks that the great artists all come out to hear the poem and then respond with a capping verse. Here is the first part of the poem:

Why is the small deer standing right in the middle of the open sea?

To which a student who was in attendance added:
I think the autumn mountains are clearly reflected there.
– Michael Stone

I would like to care more about you than about my feelings for you.
– Waylon Lewis

I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things… Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.
– Henry David Thoreau

It really felt like rediscovering the fragments. So, that’s my advice. Just write the fragment. Make that fragment as whole as you can, because, guess what? It’s going to open the door to another one, and another one, and another one.
– Andre Dubus III

Our greatest responsibility is to become good ancestors.
– Jonas Salk

Neither we nor the world are one dimensional. Everything is open dimensional, and infinite. Humbleness comes when we are not having to assert rightness.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

FALL
Fall, falling, fallen.  That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences – a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us
 – Edward Hirsch

Society will not change by compulsion.
It requires a change of heart.
Understand that nothing is your own,
that all belongs to all.
Then only society will change…
Every cause is universal.
Your very body will not exist without the
entire universe contributing to its creation & survival.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maybe there is some not yet understood return to people we have loved
and lost. I need to imagine the possibility even if I don’t believe it.
– Susan Howe

Now–putting bits of memory together, trying to pick out the good while
doing away with the bad–I’m left with one overwhelming impression–the
unpresentable violence of a negative double.
– Susan Howe

Sometimes absence can prove presence. That’s not exactly
faith, I know. All day, everywhere, I feel you near at hand.
There’s so much to understand, and everything to prove.
Up high the air is thin and hard, roars in the ears like love.
– Patricia Traxler

Somewhere sometime we must have / passed one another like going and
coming trains, / with both of us looking the other way.
– Lisel Mueller

I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the
world.
– James Joyce

There cannot be too much lyric because lyric itself is too much.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

It is crucial in our own lives that, first time around, we fail to ask the question. Because without that we will never start the hard road into self-knowledge that reveals the sacrality of our own darkness. Something luminous has to become completely lost, and we have to sit in the implications of its absence. It’s the loss of the grail that sets us out on the quest, not the finding.
– Martin Shaw

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I want to be with someone who dreams of doing everything in life and nothing on rainy Sunday afternoons.
– Atticus

Chogyam Trungpa ~ The basic point of tantra is interest and awareness in every activity we are involved in throughout our life, in every moment

Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin-flowers. And the frisky ones – inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones – rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.
 – Mary Oliver
Blue Iris: Poems & Essays

At no other time does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

HAIKU
~
Thousands of small hands
let go of the world at once –
yellow maple leaves

– Clark Strand

In the degenerate age,

it is more important than ever

that there be those ( and may the numbers increase)

that don’t just go along with the status quo.

the prevailing ‘cultural norms’

the prevailing worldly winds

the prevailing ‘cool’

the prevailing modus operandi

and who, instead,

say- no

and who instead say-

is this loving?
is this wise?

may we go the way of love
– Belle Heywood

The spirit of man is nomad, his blood bedouin, and love is the aboriginal tracker on the faded desert spoor of his lost self; and so I came to live my life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird.
– Laurens Van der Post

Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power…Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

No one goes so far as the person who does not know where he is going.
– C.G. Jung

The opposite [of] patriarchy is not matriarchy, but fraternity.
– Germaine Greer


(Tribe)

We could each have specific, creative ways to avoid being absorbed into the culture around us. Practice eccentricity.
– Thomas Moore

Identifying less with habits and more with our basic nature lightens things up. With more space in our mind, we take our reactions less seriously. We can watch them the way we would watch children at play – knowing they will quickly wear themselves out. ‘It’s Up to You’
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Say you have seen something. You have seen an ordinary bit of what is real, the infinite fabric of time that eternity shoots through, and time’s soft-skinned people working and dying under slowly shifting stars. Then what?
– Annie Dillard

You are beautifully enough. Your stories of ‘not
good enough’ are fictional novels written by a
culture still hiding its light under a bushel of shame.
The REAL story, your TRUE autobiography, is
one of inherent magnificence, courage and divinity

flowing through your soul-veins. So you decide

which book to read—the fictional novel written by

those who do not SEE you, or the HOLY BOOK

written by your glorious spirit.
– Jeff Brown

Everyone is born a poet – a person discovering the way words sound and work, caring and delighting in words. I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is: Why did other people stop?
– William Stafford

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
– Plutarch

In the very middle of the chest, deep deep inside
Something has broken
And it hurts almost all the time.
Sometimes it gives birth to anxiety, fear, and panic.
Sometimes it gives birth to anger, resentment, and blame.
Sometimes it gives birth to tears.
This is our kinship with all who have loved truly –
From beginningless time.
You, my dear friend, understand it well
This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion.
It humbles The Arrogant and softens The Unkind.
This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great
Fearlessness.
It awakens Those who prefer to sleep and pierces through
Indifference.
This continual ache of the human heart –
broken by the Loss of all that we hold dear
Is this not a blessing
Which when accepted fully – can be shared
With all?
– Ani Pema Chodron

It was one of those sumptuous days when the world is full of autumn muskiness and tangy, crisp perfection: vivid blue sky, deep green fields, leaves in a thousand luminous hues. It is a truly astounding sight when every tree in a landscape becomes individual, when each winding back highway and plump hillside is suddenly and infinitely splashed with every sharp shade that nature can bestow – flaming scarlet, lustrous gold, throbbing vermilion, fiery orange.
– Bill Bryson

When from our better selves we have too long been
parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its busyness, of its pleasures tired.
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.
– William Wordsworth

Not the loss alone,
But what comes after.
If it ended completely
At loss, the rest
Wouldn’t matter.
But you go on.
And the world also.
And words, words
In a poem or song:
Aren’t they a stream
On which your feelings float?
Aren’t they also
The banks of that stream
And you yourself the flowing?
– Gregory Orr
(Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved)

When from our better selves we have too long been
parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its busyness, of its pleasures tired.
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.
– William Wordsworth

I could hold you for a million years, to make you feel my love.
– Bob Dylan

Mourning 
by Carolyn Forché

A peacock on an olive branch looks beyond…

the grove to the road, beyond the road to the sea,

blank-lit, where a sailboat anchors to a cove.

As it is morning, below deck a man is pouring water into a cup,

listening to the radio-talk of the ships: barges dead

in the calms awaiting port call, pleasure boats whose lights

hours ago went out, fishermen setting their nets for mullet,

as summer tavernas hang octopus to dry on their lines,

whisper smoke into wood ovens, sweep the terraces

clear of night, putting the music out with morning

light, and for the breath of an hour it is possible

to consider the waters of this sea wine-dark, to remember

that there was no word for blue among the ancients,

but there was the whirring sound before the oars

of the great triremes sang out of the seam of world,

through pine-sieved winds silvered by salt flats until

they were light enough to pass for breath from the heavens,

troubled enough to fell ships and darken thought —

then as now the clouds pass, roosters sleep in their huts,

the sea flattens under glass air, but there is nothing to hold us there:

not the quiet of marble nor the luff of sail, fields of thyme,

a vineyard at harvest, and the sea filled with the bones of those

in flight from wars east and south, our wars, their remains

scavenged on the seafloor and in its caves, belongings now

a flotsam washed to the rocks. Stand here and look

into the distant haze, there where the holy mountain

with its thousand monks wraps itself in shawls of rain,

then look to the west, where the rubber boats tipped

into the tough waves. Rest your eyes there, remembering the words

of Anacreon, himself a refugee of war, who appears

in the writings of Herodotus:

I love and do not love, I am mad and I am not mad.

Like you he thought himself not better,

nor worse than anyone else.

One prays best who does not know he is praying.
– St. Anthony

Consciousness is an itching rash that makes you scratch. Of course, you cannot step out of consciousness for the very idea of stepping out is in consciousness. But if you learn to look at your consciousness as a sort of fever, personal and private, in which you are enclosed like a chick in its shell, out of this very attitude will come the crisis that will break the shell.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea’s lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn’s castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying, “How can I reach the sea?”
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.

So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

– Pablo Neruda ​

One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.
– Stephen Hawking​

The first step…shall be to lose the way.
– Galway Kinnell

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​

How resigned you were / to your oblivion, unlistening to the cumuli / as they swept past.
– Lucia Perillo

Myth is neither a lie nor a confession: it is an inflexion.
– Roland Barthes

I must go in; the fog is rising.
– Emily Dickinson ​

People for a millennia have been living under a meaningful sky.

You can’t care for your soul and fully participate in a soulless society. You must be committed to the soulful life.

Caring for the soul means that one has embarked on a lifelong alchemical process….

[To tend soul] we must give up the pleasure of being a moralist, of feeling virtuous.

[The antidote to anxiety] is to slip down into the human race, to slide down into the slime.

We can never fully eradicate the Shadow. We live with the Shadow all of our lives. It needs to be there to dip into to find our own prima materia. Shadow is useful.

The soul moves by magic. To live from soul one must have magic in one’s life.

Sensory experiences are also poetic and imagistic experiences.​
– Thomas Moore

You need every kind of day to grow. No sense limiting it to the sunny ones, or the cloudy ones, or the sleepy ones, or the active ones. No sense denying yourself the opportunity to be here for all of it. You need every kind of day to grow.
– Jeff Brown

Fiercely intelligent, yet bearing a sensibility far more porous than most, Van Gogh was unable, or unwilling, to abstract his intellect from his body’s reality, unwilling to abandon the myriad things, to tame his senses and so stifle the steady eros between his flesh and the flesh of the earth.

Again and again he slides out of himself, through his eyes, to feel the hunkard silence of the olive groves, and to taste the spreading ecstasy of the leaves as they’re slowly lit by the climbing sun. And again and again he is invaded, in turn, by the visible — penetrated by the midday langor of the rolling wheat fields, or by the sullen mood of a neighbor’s face. Although he writes often to his brother and a few friends (letters of luminous candor and kindness), it is only in the act of drawing and painting that he is able to give expression to this ongoing intercourse, by offering back to the visible a trace of what the visible steadily pours into his chest.

His paintings, then, are windows through which we look onto an earth no less alive and intelligent than ourselves.
– David Abram

I’ve been told that “normal” people do not go into book-buying blackouts, whereby they find books in their home (or receive books in the mail) that they have no memory of buying or ordering.
“Normal” people sound boring.
– Darrell Grizzle

Giselle, an Italian reader of The Power of Surrender, translated this line that she loved from the book. Very cool

“Everything I love is at the end of a dirt road.”

“Tutto ciò che amo si trova alla fine di una strada non asfaltata.”
– Judith Orloff

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 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

Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable and finally has come to look and not to buy. So shoes are worn and hassocks are sat upon and finally everything is left where it was and the spirit passes on, just as the wind in the orchard picks up the leaves from the ground as if there were no other pleasure in the world but brown leaves, as if it would deck, clothe, flesh itself in flourishes of dusty brown apple leaves and then drops them all in a heap at the side of the house and goes on.
– Marilynne Robinson

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

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

– Jellaludin Rumi

A Song on the End of the World
BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
TRANSLATED BY ANTHONY MILOSZ
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

         
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
There will be no other end of the world,
There will be no other end of the world.

Warsaw, 1944

Ars Poetica?
BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us,
so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out
and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That’s why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion,
though it’s an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It’s hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they’re put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues,
and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand,
work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

It’s true that what is morbid is highly valued today,
and so you may think that I am only joking
or that I’ve devised just one more means
of praising Art with the help of irony.

There was a time when only wise books were read,
helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same
as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.

And yet the world is different from what it seems to be
and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.
People therefore preserve silent integrity,
thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.

What I’m saying here is not, I agree, poetry,
as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly,
under unbearable duress and only with the hope
that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.

Berkeley, 1968

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody.
– Maya Angelou

Believe in the holy contour of life.
– Jack Kerouac

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
– Anne Lamott

This love
has come to keep you,
never homeless.
For this heat
is enough
to burn down walls
constructed of lifetimes
of rotting planks of fear
turned ash now,
smoldering,
with new life.
– Melissa La Flamme

After I knew that God was a woman, I learned something from far- off about love; but it was only when I became a woman and served my Master and Paramour that I knew love utterly.
– Sri Aurobindo

Native Memory
Ansel Elkins
River was my first word
after mama.
I grew up with the names of rivers
on my tongue: the Coosa,
the Tallapoosa, the Black Warrior;
the sound of their names
as native to me as my own.

I walked barefoot along the brow of Lookout Mountain
with my father, where the Little River
carves its name through the canyons
of sandstone and shale
above Shinbone Valley;
where the Cherokee
stood on these same stones
and cast their voices into the canyon below.


You are here, a red arrow
on the atlas tells me
at the edge of the bluff
where young fools have carved their initials
into giant oaks
and spray painted their names and dates
on the canyon rocks,
where human history is no more
than a layer of stardust, thin
as the fingernail of god.

What the canyon holds in its hands:
an old language spoken into the pines
and carried downstream
on wind and time, vanishing
like footprints in ash.
The mountain holds their sorrow
in the marrow of its bones.
The body remembers
the scars of massacres,
how the hawk ached to see
family after family
dragged by the roots
from the land of their fathers.

Someone survived to remember
beyond the weight of wagons and their thousands
of feet cutting a deep trail of grief.
Someone survived to tell the story of this
sorrow and where they left their homes
and how the trees wept to see them go
and where they crossed the river
and where they whispered a prayer into their grandmother’s eyes
before she died
and where it was along the road they buried her
and where the oak stood whose roots
grew around her bones
and where it was that the wild persimmons grow
and what it was she last said to her children
and which child was to keep her memory alive
and which child was to keep the language alive
and weave the stories of this journey into song
and when were the seasons of singing
and what were the stories that go with the seasons
that tell how to work and when to pray
that tell when to dance and who made the day.

You are here
where bloodlines and rivers
are woven together.
I followed the river until I forgot my name
and came here to the mouth of the canyon
to swim in the rain and remember
this, the most indigenous joy I know:
to wade into the river naked
among the moss and stones,
to drink water from my hands
and be alive in the river, the river saying,
You are here,
a daughter of stardust and time.

The heart is where we integrate what we know in our minds with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human.
– Parker Palmer

I loved you on this day. I love this memory.
– Joel Barish, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Is it the shadow itself that looks out through our eyes at midday? Small wonder that so many traditional peoples give themselves over to siesta, and sleep, for an hour or two at this time, letting their tissues and organs respond to this interior visitation by the night, allowing the many cells or souls within them to be tutored by the darkness that has taken temporary refuge within their flesh.
– David Abram

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.
– Carl Jung

Pick a crevice,
a homey gap
between stones
and make it
your own.
Grow a life here
from wind
rain
and the memories of ancients
embedded in limestone.
The bees will use you
for their sweet honey.
The rock will soften under
your touch.
You will draw moisture from fog
and hold it.
Your presence
will build soil.
This is all we have
in this life
all we own:
a flowering
an opening
a gap between stones
for tiny tender roots.
– “Flowering” by Linda Buckmaster

Not all those who know their minds know their hearts as well.
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld

It is the crack between the last golden rays of summer and the dark of winter; the delicately balanced tweak of the year before it is given over entirely to the dark; a time for the souls of the departed to squint, to peek and perhaps to travel through the gap. What could be more thrilling and worthy of celebration than that? It is a time to celebrate sweet bounty, as the harvest is brought in. It is a time of excitement and pleasure for children before the dark sets in. We should all celebrate that.
 – Jenny Colgan

I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still
– Sylvia Plath

I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
– Sylvia Plath

When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, then may the country boast of its constitution and its government.
– Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792

Humility is a safe place.
– E.M.

C. G. Jung said that when we appear to be in a psychological crisis, we are often, actually, in “a crisis of imagination,” as indicated, for example, by those times when we say to ourselves, “I can’t imagine my life with/ without…,” or “I can’t imagine having/ losing…,” “I can’t imagine if…,” and on it goes.

Jung experienced directly these crises of imagination, and through his work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist with his patients he tended the soul, and touched… directly the healing power of the mythopoetic realm of the deep psyche, the unconscious, the wild and natural world often reflected in images on the primordial ground of the imagination — the soul. Jung said, image is psyche and psyche is image; and by image he meant, feelings, visual imagery, instincts, symbols, sounds, smells — especially smells, and encompassing all that: emotion-imbued metaphor that are universal experiences (otherwise known as archetypal images).

Mystics, shamanic/earth-centered practitioners, artists, and soul-centered spiritualists worldwide for millennia, too, have come to know that the extent to which we honor the images that arise in our psyche, tend them with our whole-hearted, heart-centered attention — whether in daylight or night dreams — is the extent to which we open the door to our psyche’s deepest and most expansive healing, and to a way of being that is wildly, soulfully authentically alive.

– Melissa La Flamme

The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. The spiritual life can only be real when it is experienced amid the pains and joys of our everyday existence.
– Henri Nouwen

Every good thought is a prayer. That is what we believe. That is why we don’t have church. Life is church, the Universe is our temple. To be conscious of the well-being of the Little People, that’s a form of prayer . . . We don’t build churches, and go inside to pray one day a week. We pray outside, in the Natural World. And our entire life is an act of prayer, because there is Holiness in all things in the Natural World here on Grandmother Earth.
– Russell Means, Oglala Lakota

For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it.
– René Descartes

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light a fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much.
– Dorothy Day

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.
– Terry Tempest Williams ​

The point in turning inward is not to turn away from injustice or ecological threats, but rather to turn to the abundance of spirit and soul hidden inside. To avoid despair and cynicism and to find purpose and meaningful work, it becomes important to be aligned with the natural abundance secretly seeded in each human soul.
– Michael Meade

There are some books that, if we keep them a safe distance from our heart, so they can’t really move us, we will never understand them at all.
– Peter Capofreddi

While persons brought up within literate culture often speak about the natural world, indigenous, oral peoples sometimes speak directly to that world, acknowledging certain animals, plants, and even landforms as expressive subjects with whom they might find themselves in conversation.
– David Abram

A commitment to kindness can be the thread that twines throughout our various successes, disappointments, delights and traumas, making our lives seamless, giving us ballast in a world of change, a reservoir of heartfulness to infuse our choice, our relationships, and our reactions.
– Sharon Salzberg

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
– Oscar Wilde

Dharma is not something far-off and unreachable where we have to wait for conditions to change in order to be able to embrace it. It’s not dualistic like this. It’s very important that we not make our practices too dualistic in this way, and that we work very hard with where we are.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Like a Diamond

My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

[W]hen Socrates describes
the lover’s wings spreading through the soul

like flames on a horizon, it isn’t so much light
I think about, but the back’s skin cracking
to let each wing’s nub break through,

the surprise of the first pain and the eventual
lightening, the blood on the feathers drying
as you begin to sense the use for them.
– Rick Barot

Tumbling in so many
summerautumnwintersprings
– M.J. Iuppa

How will I compose myself, what song will I

have practiced enough to quiet the terrors of hell?
I search the expensive years for a secret rain,
a white noise, a curtain of inner light

I can draw around myself like a shroud.
I walk back through the years, searching
the layers of golden light and dried blood,

all the way back to the black door
before birth where I practice stepping through,
knowing this time it is only a beginning.

– Fred Dings

BEGINNER’S LESSON
by Malcolm Alexander
If you wish to be wealthy, duck beneath
the topcoat of a well-dressed river
until you come up with a mossy boot
filled with shiners. Spend them wisely.

To tread lightly on the earth,
first breathe in and out slowly
to sense how oxygen walks barefoot,
then observe butterflies, so weightless
even our poetry burdens them.

Avoid mistaking sadness for blueberries,
but if this happens, remember only one
of the two tastes like a somersault.

Make nothing more of the moon
than what it is, a great big pebble
hunting for a shoe, not to be confused
with the heart, likewise a vagabond.

Inside of every stray cat lurks a person
who discarded love. Remember this
when you bend over to wind them up.

If you feel compelled to fly a flag,
note how it struggles in vain to be a rainbow
and how envy will make it twist and flap
like a tongue. Consider instead a kite.

If you desire to reach heaven,
have your body buried in an aspen grove.
In time, all of you will wick up
into a loud version of it.

If the noise of the human world overwhelms you,
trace the voicebox of an orchid with your finger.
When you get to the aria, listen.
But beware, for beauty can be a lacewing
or a meteor, and lands wherever it pleases.

When you finish reading a poem,
bend it around so you can see
yourself in it. Then laugh out loud.
Everything else now should come easy.

The path of the spiritual warrior is not soft and sweet. It is not artificially blissful and pretend forgiving. It is not fearful of divisiveness. It is not afraid of its own shadow. It is not afraid of losing popularity when it speaks its truth. It will not beat around the bush where directness is essential. It has no regard for vested interests that cause suffering. It is benevolent and it is firey and it is cuttingly honest in its efforts to liberate itself and humanity from the egoic ties that bind. Shunning strong opinions in the name of spirituality is anti-spiritual. Spirituality that is only floaty soft is a recipe for disaster, allowing all manner of manipulation to run amok. Real spirituality is a quest for truth, in all its forms. Sometimes we find the truth on the meditation cushion, and sometimes we find it in the heart of conflict. May all spiritual warriors rise into fullness. This planet is lost without them.
– Jeff Brown

Most problems arising from dualism are most immediately resolved not by a move to oneness, but by a move recognising pluralism. This is why I much prefer the term wholeness to oneness. Wholeness does not imply a denial of either singularity or multiplicity. It is inclusive rather than exclusive.
– David Brazier

You are not my dream girl. You are this earth. You are not a fantasy: you are my love.
– Waylon H. Lewis

For none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
– Gustave Flaubert

You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.
– Anne Lamott

You can’t write an image, a metaphor, a story, a phrase, without leaning a little further into the shared world, without recognizing that your supposed solitude is at every point of its perimeter touching some other.
– Jane Hirshfield

Having once met, we can never really be separated, even though we may be physically apart, and though no spoken or written word may pass between us for a long time.
– Sangharakshita

Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.
– Herman Melville

The Wild Swans at Coole
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry, 

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky;

Upon the brimming water among the stones

Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Buddhism is less like a cake that you binge on to distract yourself from an existential crisis, which is religion at its worst, and more like a vitamin that you take just enough of, every day, to keep yourself from the business end of a noose. Happiness is your own problem. Buddhism (or any practice that’s doing its job) gives you truth.
– Shozan Jack Haubner

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

Rightness of scale is our second care:
the willingness to think and work
within the limits of our competence
to do no permanent wrong to anything
of permanent worth to the earth’s life,

known or unknown, now or ever, never

destroying by knowledge, unknowingly,

what we do not know, so that the world

in its mystery, the known unknown world,

will live and thrive while we live.

- Wendell Berry

What is the heart of this old monk like?
A gentle wind
Beneath the vast sky.
– Ryokan

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
With the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.
The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite.
What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.
– Wendell Berry

Kindness never means empowering people’s hatred. Kindness is what disempowers hatred. If we don’t call out hatred directly, we aren’t truly being kind.
– Ethan Nichtern

I dream of an art so transparent that you can look through and see the world.
– Stanley Kunitz

If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking.
– Ken Kesey

When you love, you are very near truth.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
– Arthur Ashe

RAIN
As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It’s as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
Streaming
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
world
a voracious
world – abyss
ambush
whirlwind
spur
but I keep loving it
because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning,
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why.
– Claribel Alegría

Not only is it important that East meets West, but when they do, Sparks fly.
– Chogyam Trungpa

You say nothing is created new?
Don’t worry about it, with the mud
of the earth, make a cup
from which your brother can drink.
– Antonio Machado trans Robert Bly

Spirit
Bodies are like poems,
a fraction of their power
resides in their skin
The rest belongs to the spirit
that swims through them.
– Yahia Lababidi

Our mouth is the gateway to so many kinds of karma. What goes in (food, drink, etc.) becomes inextricably linked with who we are and who we are becoming. What goes out (speech mostly) has a lot to do with how our relationships with others and with our world take shape.
– David Nichtern

Where there is beauty, there is ugliness.
When something is right, something else is wrong.
Knowledge and ignorance depend on each other.
It has been like this since the beginning.
How could it be otherwise now?
Wanting to toss out one and hold onto the other
makes for a ridiculous comedy.
You must still deal with everything ever-changing,
even when you say it’s wonderful.
– Ryokan

Spirit
Bodies are like poems,
a fraction of their power
resides in their skin
The rest belongs to the spirit
that swims through them.
– Yahia Lababidi

Spending time with your own mind is humbling and broadening. One finds that there’s no one in charge, and is reminded that no thought lasts for long.
– Gary Snyder

It is too clear and so it is hard to see.
A fool once searched for fire with a lighted lantern.
Had he known what fire was,
He could have cooked his rice much sooner.
– Mumon

Only one Thing exists.
It doesn’t matter what name you give It.
Become transparent to It and get out of Its way.
That is egolessness.
– lazyyogi

Find your own way; let it ever deepen and widen.
– Mary Mueller Shutan

It’s time for the world to take an evolutionary step toward extreme non-violence.
– Thomas Moore

The still deeply under-addressed economic fact:. “Their jobs didn’t go to a Mexican. They went to a microchip.” (Friedman). Think of the crushing effect on displaced workers and people who consequently feel trapped & aggressively defensive… Why Shouldn’t a portion of those immense tech-profits and crazily disproportionate wealth industry gains go to work programs extending new-world-order access to those usually excluded? (By access I mean world travel, languages, musics, tech literacies & tools etc — not academic recitations of doctrine & opinion– but exposure to alternative readings and new delights of instrument–educations that matter momentously now for the health of a nation’s mind, culture and character
– Heather McHugh

Everything that rises must converge.
– Teilhard de Chardin

Higher levels of evolution are always a movement toward greater unity.
– Richard Rohr

Sensing seekers see surprising surreal serendipities segue strangely sacred. Subtle surrender sprouts source supreme.
– Roger Wolsey

To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.
– Dogen

The first of our senses which we should take care never to let rust through disuse is that sixth sense, the imagination. I mean the wide-open eye which leads us to see truth more vividly, to apprehend more broadly, to concern ourselves more deeply, to be, all our life long, sensitive and awake to the powers and responsibilities given to us as human beings.
– Christopher Fry

Meditation ain’t about escape: it’s about connecting with this breath, this moment, with yourself, right here and now, with your world, your neighborhood, your loved ones, your partner or friends…it’s about connecting!
– Waylon Lewis

November saves its words,
then explodes.
Its brilliance ferries in the cold.
It blurs the line
between the holy…
and the ghost, the intimate
and the remote, the parachute
and river boat, the omen and
the grace note.​
– Wendy Videlock

The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.
– Susan Sontag

sigh.
one paints with the hope that it’s not too late~
one paints with the dread that it will never end~
finally one paints because one is a painter~
– Ari Annona

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whereof we cannot express a theory, we must narrate a story instead.
– Umberto Eco

There is an old place in us that understands that deep feeling is not entirely confined to our body, that there are a thousand murmuring layers between us and a dark pool of water. Grief called me to take a bigger shape. It always did.
– Martin Shaw

Mind and its projections are innocent. They are very ordinary, very natural, and very simple. Red is not evil, and white is not divine; blue is not evil, and green is not divine. Sky is sky; rock is rock; earth is earth; mountains are mountains. I am what I am, and you are what you are. There are no obstacles to experiencing our world properly, and nothing is regarded as problematic.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

One definition of success might be: refining our appetites, while deepening our hunger.
– Yahia Lababidi

Those periods we consider dry spells are often secretly fertile—where our entire souls are being rewritten and readied for fresh utterance.
– Yahia Lababidi

CREDO
What good is poetry
if it doesn’t stand up
against the lies of government,
if it doesn’t rescue us
from the liars that mislead us?
What good is it
if it doesn’t speak out, denounce what’s going on?
It’s nothing
but harmless wordplay
to titillate and distract –
the government knows it,
and can always get rid of us if we step out of line.

That I believed in poetry,
even when I betrayed it,
that I came back to its central meaning
– to save the world –
this and only this
has been my salvation.
| after C. Miłosz |
– Edward Field

What is the World You Want To Wake Up To?
What is the world that you want to wake up to?
I want mine to be colorful and rich in texture.
I want to hear children laughing in the woods
as leaves crackle under the scamper of bare feet.
I want to sit in awe of the faces of people
who have grown old enough and wise enough
to wear their storylines.
I want to be able to sit on park benches with
my friends in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran
and so many other places
and hold them close,
to cry on their shoulders,
and to wipe their tears.
I want to hold food to my mouth and know that
it is nourishment for this, my body.
It is the only body that I have.
And it is my body. Of this I am certain.
And it is a most sacred temple, not a commodity
to be traded in the market places or
put to work in order to carry out
deeds that indefinitely burden the soul.
I want to be awakened at dawn by the voices of
tiny birds that traverse continents
and be wooed to sleep by streams and owls
and coyotes who are telling me that
they have nothing to fear of my kind.
I want to have faith that the young ones who
will be making decisions when I am weary and
wrinkled are well educated in the school of
worldly experience, and dearly love
this planet that is their inheritance.
I want to call you my Brother,
and you my Sister,
and have no doubt that you see me
as family irrespective of our
differences.
I want us to live together in wonderment
of this heart-cracking world,
not in terror of the skies or the oceans
or the earth beneath our feet because
we collectively betrayed our own Mother.
Sigh.
This is all I want.
This, and to wake up knowing that you
too have your eyes open enough
to go place your vote for the world
that you want to wake up to.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Democracy no longer means what it was meant to. It has been taken back into the workshop. Each of its institutions has been hollowed out, and it has been returned to us as a vehicle for the free market, of the corporations. For the corporations, by the corporations.
– Arundhati Roy

I Sit and Look Out
-Walt Whitman
I Sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be kill’d, to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.

Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear:
And signals flash through the night in vain.
Death is in charge of the clattering train!
–an excerpt from a poem by Edwin James Milliken quoted by Churchill in the House of Commons in 1935, as he tried to warn of the growing threat from Nazi Germany, to little avail.

A RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

– William Stafford
(1914-1993)

Tao Te Ching, Stanza 36:
If you want to shrink something,
you must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something,
you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to take something,
you must first allow it to be given.
This is called the subtle perception
of the way things are.
The soft overcomes the hard.
The slow overcomes the fast.
Let your workings remain a mystery.
Just show people the results.

Wise words from the Paris Review:
“This site is dedicated to literature, arts, and culture. Electoral politics are usually beyond our remit. On a morning like this, when America has chosen a bigot and a xenophobe as its next president, my job feels pointless. But I don’t want to add to the chorus of despair, because I do believe there’s a role for art at a time like this, and I don’t say that lightly—words like these don’t come easily to me. I would rather make fun of things, and I’m struggling against an inborn fatalism. (My iPhone just reminded me to water my plants, and I thought, why bother?) The creative impulse is such a fragile thing, but we have to create now. We owe it to ourselves to do the work. I want to encourage you. If you aspire to write, put aside all the niceties and sureties about what art should be and write something that makes the scales fall from our eyes. Forget the tired axioms about showing and telling, about sense of place—any possible obstruction—and write to destroy complacency, to rattle people, to help people, first and foremost yourself. Lodge your ideas like glass shards in the minds of everyone who would have you believe there’s no hope. And read, as often and as violently as you can. If you have friends, as I do, who tacitly believe that it’s too much of a chore to read a book, just one fucking book, from start to finish, smash every LCD they own. This is an opportunity. There’s too much at stake now to pretend that everything is okay.

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
– Gandhi

It is when the desires and aims, the interests and modes of response of another become an expansion of our own being that we understand [them].
– John Dewey

The Waterwheel
Stay together, friends.
Don’t scatter and sleep.
Our friendship is made
of being awake.

The waterwheel accepts water
and turns and gives it away,
weeping.


That way it stays in the garden,
whereas another roundness rolls
through a dry riverbed looking
for what it thinks it wants.
Stay here, quivering with each moment
like a drop of mercury.
– Rumi

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
– Camus

By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometime it has a policy, but nothing more.
– Camus

The Fountain
– Denise Levertov
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen
the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes
found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.
The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched—but not because
she grudged the water,
only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were
refreshed.
Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,
it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

People can change anything they want to, and that means everything in the world.
– Joe Strummer

We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.
– Konstantin Josef Jireček

We need poets to change the world.
– Justin Trudeau, PM

The hermit said: “Because the world is mad, / The only way through the world is to learn / The arts and double the madness. Are you listening?
– Robert Bly

As Robert Creeley used to tell his students, “If you don’t *have to* write poetry, for god’s sake, don’t.” To which I add, and if you do, be prepared to find a very long tradition in which you may practice and thereby make it new.”

God speaks to each of us as s/he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

We weep together
and make a bed for rain
– Anne Sexton

The nonviolent resister would contend that in the struggle for human dignity, the oppressed people of the world must not succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter or indulging in hate campaigns. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
– from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

You think you are alive
because you breathe air?
Shame on you,
that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don’t be without Love,
so you won’t feel dead.
Die in Love
and stay alive forever.
– Rumi

There never was a war that was not inward; I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war.
– Marianne Moore

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Do not go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!

People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Do not go back to sleep!
– Jalaluddin Rumi

enantiodromia…the swinging of the pendulum of psychic energy in the collective of a nation. Enantiodromia: from the ancient Greek, enantios (opposite) dromos (running course). The Swiss psychoanalyst C.G. Jung introduced this concept, inspired in part by the Taoist idea of yin-yang, to articulate a particular phenomenon that can occur on the individual level and in the collective. Enantiodromia is when the superabundance of any force of energy inevitably produces its opposite.
– f.o

HEALING AND TRANSFORMATION
The world is not decided by action alone. It is decided more by consciousness and spirit; they are the secret sources of all action and behavior. The spirit of a time is an incredibly subtle, yet hugely powerful force. And it is comprised of the mentality and spirit of all individuals together. Therefore, the way you look at things is not simply a private matter. Your outlook actually and concretely affects what goes on. When you give in to helplessness, you collude with despair and add to it. When you take back your power and choose to see the possibilities for healing and transformation, your creativity awakens and flows to become an active force of renewal and encouragement in the world. In this way, even in your own hidden life, you can become a powerful agent of transformation. There is a huge force field that opens when intention focuses and directs itself toward transformation.
– John O’Donohue

I Talk to My Body
by Anna Swir

My body, you are an animal
whose appropriate behavior
is concentration and discipline.
An effort
of an athlete, of a saint and of a yogi

Well trained
you may become for me
a gate
through which I will leave myself
and a gate
through which I will enter myself
A plump line to the centre of the earth
and a cosmic ship to Jupiter.

My body you are an animal
from whom ambition
is right.
Splendid possibilities
are open to us.

We will go into the future as a single sacred community, or we will all perish in the desert.
– Thomas Berry

For every thing that lives is Holy.
– William Blake

As we come to know the seriousness of the situation, the war, the racism, the poverty in our world, we come to realize that things will not be changed simply by words or demonstrations. Rather, it’s a question of living one’s life in a drastically different way.
– Dorothy Day

If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw these projections all and sundry, then you get an individual conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they must be fought against. He lives in the “house of self collection.” Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he learns only to deal with his own shadow then he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in removing an inifinitesimal part, at least, of the unsolved gigantic social problems of our day.
– C. G. Jung. Coll Works, Vol 11.

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
– William Penn

The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.
– Adrienne Rich

But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force

In tracking out our true, original course;

A longing to inquire

Into the mystery of this heart which beats

So wild, so deep in us—to know

Whence our lives come and where they go.

– Matthew Arnold

The young student sits with his head bent over his books, and his mind straying in youth’s dreamland; where prose is prowling on the desk and poetry hiding in the heart.
– Rabindranath Tagore

The poet’s job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way, that people cannot live without it.
– Jane Kenyon

I always say that the young people are the future of the world, and if we start with them first, if we educate and develop a sense of tolerance among them, our future, the future of this world, will be in good hands for generations to come.
– Erin Gruwell

And who among us does not prefer tolerance, respect, and forgiveness of out failings to bigotry, disrespect, and resentment?
– Dalai Lama XIV

Dwell
Fifteen thousand years ago
a people rose in China’s dawn,
leaving the land of fathers and mothers
just south of the Yangtze.
They crossed the northern straits,
migrating with dogs near-once wolves,
and bearing seed of rice,
both sacred bestowments of a
great spirit. Settling in places to be
known as Minnesota, Wisconsin,
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, bound fast
to the primal domain on the
inward plain
they lived hard
as creatures should
quickened by an ancient verve we do not
pulsate with today.
I want to know their God,
those who walked the arc of
time and space of earth,
stars and moon, sun and seasons,
ages and eons.
What was spoken into their
visions induced by the yodel of a loon, a
beam of light in morning water?
Since fire, the wheel, iron, papyrus we
have shackled our spirits to machines and art, and
scribed the account of staking down our Gulliver-god
into our irreproachable book of gleanings. We have
captured lightning on a kite-wire only to
blot out the Milky Way. We have
hurled our flaccid bodies across
the face of the planet at speeds that
cock the head, unsure of where we
have been. The land blurs by, pillaged of
legends of the early people of earth,
those with dogs once wolves and seed of rice,
bound fast to the primal domain.
O’ to dwell, not merely live, in utter step
with the time and space of earth.

It doesn’t change when we stare at it from across the room. It doesn’t change when we sit in prayer and wish it away. It doesn’t change when we skirt the edges of the shadow. It doesn’t change when we pretend it’s all Go(o)d. It changes when we cross the sacred battleground willing to die to our truth. It changes when we look the lie in the eye until it has nowhere left to hide. It changes when we pick up the sword of truth and cut the falsity until it bleeds. The era of the sacred activist is upon us. Not the warrior run amok, but the benevolent warrior who fights for our right to the light. Some battles are worth fighting..
– Jeff Brown

Good Bones
BY MAGGIE SMITH
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children.
The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.
– Maggie Smith

Oceans by Juan Ramon Jimenez
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…
–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

This Union
This
Union you want
With the earth and sky,

This union we all need with love,

A golden wing from God’s heart just

Touched the ground,
Now

Step on it
With your brave sun-vows

And help our eyes
To 
Dance!
– The Gift {of} Hafiz

Don’t be afraid of Love
Love gives us our stories. It re-opens us to a world in full disclosure, calls down angels and raggedy children and happy dogs and hot nights and blue moons. And yes, trouble too. It is an enormous invitation. So prepare well. Cultivate your inner life whilst reaching out to the world. Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious. Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

Be the one who finds the third way.
– James Scott Smith

We must gather our inner Kingdom – our one-eyed hags, our bright heroes, our drowned magicians, our sleeping Queen, our depressed artists, our accountants, and our ecstatics – and prepare a feast. Not for peace or any simplistic notion, but to get all the troublemakers under one roof. If we peer at them for a moment or two, they start to look like a family. And that one there, serving the drinks, dressed in white, first on the dance floor? That’s Death. Death in service to Life.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

I pledge to be queerer than ever during Trump’s presidency.
– C. Stedman

Resentment is a self-administered poison.
It’s like tipping back a bottle of toxins while silently seething,
“This ought to show you!”
I need to be reminded from time to time to stop self medicating
– Andrew Hagel

A COUNSEL OF RESISTANCE AND DELIGHT
IN THE FACE OF FEAR

“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”
Jack Gilbert, A Brief For The Defence

I am going to say some simple things here as a counsel of delight in the face of fear, and an absolute defence of love. And to keep love as a lintel over head, even as fear shudders its addictive and corrosive and manipulative and damaging way through our communities. Well fuck that. It’s time for a story.

***

TRUE HUMAN BEINGS

When we are frightened it can feel like we are trapped under water, under ice. The mythic directive in such a moment is unusual. It says this: go deeper. Attend to the Goddess underneath the unfolding. There’s no restoration without courtship. Don’t smash your nuckles raw on the ice, but dive down further – seemingly the opposite of what everyone on the surface wants you to do. But of course, the diver swims down not just with their terror, but with their stories, their artfulness, their skill. Most importantly, most wonderfully, their love. Ironically, only by diving deeper can the ice melt.

In such times, attend to your soul-ground. And that is not some interior – unless everything is interior – it radiates out to a related field of kiddies, sickly elms at the edge of a motorway, the distracted young mum at the food kitchen, the galloping ecosystem of your nightly dreaming.

We are living in a time when every one of us is going to have to make that descent. All of us. Not in some inflated way, but “with the grandeur of our ordinary tears”, because it is what defines us as true human beings. It is simply the right way to behave. If we can’t find our mythic ground, then we have little ground.

When you swim down to Sedna you are in the business of alchemy: the tributary of your own fears meets the ocean of your artfulness and suddenly you are giving a gift, not seduced by your own wound. It is quite wonderful. We could learn the home-making skills again to welcome such stories back into our lives. We can’t stick plasters over the Fisher Kings wound.

***

EARN YOUR NAME

Call out to the whole divine night for what you love. What you stand for. Earn your name. Be kind, and wild, and disciplined, and absolutely generous. It’s the astonishing business of beauty-making, as well as the possibility of victory. Most have glimpsed hells chambers, and the fact is that much real initiatory work is to bear it. To bear the unbearable. To walk though hell. I mean really, that’s what much of it’s about. That’s where most of these elaborate, taxing rituals and three day stories come from. We’re in it. Right now.

Let no day pass – especially the shattering, scary and super busy ones – where you do not spend a little while combing the lice from her locks. When I am tired, I allow the great soul-criers to do it for me, I read aloud from Anna Akhmatova, Pablo Neruda, Virginia Woolf, Galway Kinnell, Shakespeare. And again, look to the old stories, they’ve turned up perfectly on time.

We do not live myths out as some kind of horrible karma. We don’t brush by them and become infected. But they do have a habit of riding alongside when life turns up the volume. They synch up. But that’s as an aid for deeper understanding, not as a kind of prophetic set of ever tightening knots on your liberty. Just thought I’d mention that.

Ok, and while we’re in deep I’m going to say something else. Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Listen. Go for a walk. Let in.

Then you fight like a lion for what you can affect, and you surrender the rest. Self-help at its worse will pump you into a kind of Herculean mania of self reliance, and will most likely leave you grievously burnt out.

Be around truth. Here’s why. Mystics claim (especially Sufi), that when we are surrounded by lies it creates so much activity and nervousness in our head in some subtle way we can’t properly enter our own bodies. Hence the need for friends where truth is a given, anything can be said, nothing need ever be concealed. We lose touch with our wingspan when we hunch.

***

LOVE IS THE MIGHTY

Still here? Well, bless you for that.

Here again are things we know, but I’m repeating them:

What I’ve seen on my rounds is that if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to reflect at the end of a life, then love is revealed as the great currency. It’s the thing. The treasury. It’s what mattered. Few gloat on a business success, or property portfolio at that point, how they royally screwed someone over.

How well did I love?, who did I love?, and how was love central to the life that I made for myself? And I have to say, sometimes folks don’t like the insights they receive at that latest of moments.

But if we’re reading this, than anything is possible. It is. The doorway to mercy is still open.

When the lots are counted, when we are gathered in, we will find that it was love that mattered. Love expressed, given, received, fought for. So for those of us fighting right now, I say; keep going. As a culture, as an individual, believe in the full life that is your bequeathed inheritance, not the subterranean half-life that terror and impoverished minded bullies will try and spike your wine with. You are too good for that. Remember Rilke: “wherever I am folded there I am a lie”

Love derails world-weary strategy, loosens cynicism from your heart, laces every single one of your bones with a complete re-boot of wonder. You guide your cattle through the Altai mountains in just one night and arrive at a green, slow-swishing Irish sea with moon-white sand between your toes. It is the greatest thing. Stay away from anyone that tells you otherwise. I mean turn around and walk away.

Love gives us our stories.

So we could prepare well. Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious. Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.

If you are frightened, or tired, or sick in heart,
then let these words hold your hand in the dark.
– Martin Shaw

Everyone has a a story or poem to tell, everyone is interested in reading, something besides newspapers or waiting to turn off the set. Refine the senses through colorful vivid language. Use the imagination. The hell realms of planet earth are versions of egomaniacal power mad hungry ghosts! It’s bad poetry! It’s land grabs, fossil fuel driven, genocides of all kinds that need our limber-witted poetic attention and muscle. Jump in, turn it around.
– Anne Waldman

There All Along by Claire Boyce
I look out over the horizon. Neon signs, never before beautiful, hold my focus.
Mountains hover in the distance like religious icons;
another Colorado sunset makes its pastel mark across the sky.
I know the palace walls are crumbling.
I see how we all scramble for hope and direction and are left
muttering on a street-corner, empty-handed.
A mirror has been held up too each on of us,
And we’ve been forced to see our flaws,
The diameter of our narcissism
But though the bone-white truth is terrifying, there is something else to it.
Something that feels wildly fresh and radiant, glistening even.
Something about how we are forced to listen.
Something about how there is now nowhere left to hide.
The wound is deep and still incomprehensible.
We’l be sifting through the ashes until our hands and bodies become
Grey, and raw.
We can’t be sure if the sun will rise again tomorrow.
But we are not alone. We have each other.
We have now arrived somewhere new.
And though we may not know how to traverse
the terrain, or even how to walk,
We’ll keep going.
We’ll keep listening to one another,
And somehow we will find the beauty in the neon signs and in the traffic,
And maybe even in each other.
It was there, all along.

Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
– Hannah Arendt

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 from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.
– Hannah Arendt

It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.
– Leonard Cohen

‘Trickster is the catalyst, the disruptor who sparks off the tearing down of the old order. … you don’t always get the Trickster you think you want. (Though mostly, you get the Trickster you deserve.)’
– Sharon Blackie

The Taste of Fire
by Jason Krikey
The night is dark so gather close and
build a circle of stones. Gather wood,
whatever you can carry,
and get a fire going.
The wind whips hard and the
people are cold and huddled against it.

Yes, there is darkness—but that is not this.

This is your body, broken on the forest floor
looking to an altar through a tangle of leaves.
These are your hands, reaching for roots,
and stones, and the wind to pull you forward.

This is the wing-flap of ravens roosting
in the branches of your ribs.
They have stolen the light of the sun
to plant it as a flame in your chest.
You will know it by the taste of fire on your tongue
and the way that shadows recede when you speak.

This is the splintering of wood struck by lightning,
and the embers that still glow hot in its heartwood by morning.
Yes, there is darkness, and you are weary
but there is lightning in your veins
and the taste of fire on your tongue.

This is the taste of blood in your mouth
as you lay looking through the leaves.
This is your tongue severed and offered
on an altar of story.
Take it;
it has heard enough of what the cedars say
and the speech of the shadow-cold stones.

You will need it, because
yes, there is darkness
and stories are the only tinder that burn.

Sometimes, you must let your whole body burn
so that you can be a light in the dark for others.
Though you have been broken in every way,
your bones scattered to the winds
then cast again from clay,
you have gathered the softness of moss—
this is what it takes to bear the dark.

The night is dark so gather close and
build a circle of stones. Gather wood,
whatever you can carry,
and get a fire going. Here,
stories are the only tinder that burn,
and the wind whips hard—
so speak up.

Well I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair, with a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.
– Leonard Cohen

…After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,



The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.


And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
– John O’Donohue

The Feminine is the matrix of Creation.
Without her full participation nothing new can be born.
– Llewellyn Vaughan Lee

I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through.
– Leonard Cohen

What does one say? What can one say?
That death is without a metric,
That it has no metaphor?

That what will remain is what always remains:
The snow; the dark pines, their boughs
Heavy with moisture, and failing;

The clearings we might have crossed;
The footprints we do not leave?
 – Charles Wright

Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is – what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is – what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos.
– G. K. Chesterton

I prize what you wrote and meet you in what I write. / We still keep house in a living tenement of words.
– Anne Stevenson

Connections between unconnected things are the unreal reality of poetry.
– Susan Howe

Finally a new word rises from its shell,
And if it cannot rise it calls out, saying
It’s time to be said, I’ve been here
All along, but you were reading with-
Out speaking, seeking without seeing
A syllable alone is a seed of light
– Phillis Levin

What is there to see in the world? An orphanage for fallen stars and nothing else!
– Ismail Kadare

An alchemist, Earth, tending transparencies—
banked fires, coiled waters—intent on
transfiguring light.
Humble down, I tell myself.
Love this.
– Marjorie Stelmach

September 1, 1939
W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.
From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
“I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,”
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
– W. H. Auden, Another Time

Even though he
was built to see
the world this
way, he was also
built to
disregard, to be
free of the way
he was built
to see the world.
– Leonard Cohen

This Used To Be A Country
by John Flynn
(Intro)
They think they’ve taken from us all the things we hold so dear
And in children of color’s faces you now see the fear
While the anger in God’s eye is softened by a tear
That falls like a star from the sky

This used to be a country where we cared for one another
Where we looked upon a neighbor as a sister or a brother
And the strongest shouldered up the load the for those who weren’t as strong
We thought they’d never turn their backs on this but we were wrong

This used to be a country where the evil hugged the shadows
It would hide its guise in bed sheets and would always lose the battle
When it reared its reddened faces stained with spittled hate
We weren’t always good here but our dreams could make us great

Now their bitter laughter seems to tell another story
In which the aggrieved relieved themselves upon Old Glory
And a vengeful liar raises up a fisted glove
This used to be a country that I loved

And I still do
Though I’m grieving
I ain’t quitting
I ain’t leaving
Won’t back down
This I vow
I’ll make my stand
Here and now
I will sing
I will shout
I will fight
Ain’t no doubt
Til my last
breath I breathe
And they throw
dirt on me
Love and freedom
You’ll see
My country tis of thee
This used to be a country
We could be proud of my friends
And I swear to God that it will be again

When the child Buddha was asked what he wanted to be as an adult he said “awake.” Stay awake now. We need you!
– Noah Ben-Shea

Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered.
– Leonard Cohen

We sometimes dream a moving dream /Of living simply, fervently, without a word.
– Arthur Rimbaud

You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.
– Denise Levertov

But I had to recognize and accept that my soul is a child and that my God in my soul is a child.
– C. G. Jung

A Sage 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

Quick observation about racism:
Our dark history, here in America, of slavery and ethnic antagonism has obviously left deep and painful wounds in our collective psyche. All that antagonism funneled through the linguistic sieve in our minds and we found a number of words that became vicious weapons, which still cause anguish today. Clearly it’s important not to use language that hurts people and to be sensitively aware of how the way that we communicate impacts them. But the real sign that we’ve transcended racism will be when these words can be expressed as terms of endearment and respect by anyone. What if they came to reflect a love and appreciation for our planetary diversity? What if we could truly see that recognizing beauty in others, in all of their unique and distinguished traits, takes nothing away from ourselves? Different cultural forms are all uniquely and authentically beautiful. Carnations don’t antagonize lilies for their difference; they are both glorious and all the more so for being found together.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way: A Poem
by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.
Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out of control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.
(Defy the Space That Separates, The Nation, October 7, 1996)
– Adrienne Rich

…After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,…
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.

Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.

And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
– John O’Donohue​

To confront our own shadow
also reveals our own light.
– Carl Jung

The purpose of the psychological tools of nonviolence is to open the door of the heart so that what another is feeling and experiencing can find its way within. They assume that it is possible for us to get real insight into the meaning of our deeds, attitudes, or way of life as they affect the life of our fellows.
– Howard Thurman​

In Breton
In Breton, they say
there’s a word that weaves between
green and blue, allowing for …
haze, precipitation,
the burr of distance,
the welcome shock
of escaping light
warming your shoulders.
– Ian Stephen

Just for this moment….

It’s a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you’ve never said circling inside you.

It’s the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, “Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.
– Jeffrey Harrison

Fall Song
It is a dark fall day.
The earth is slightly damp with rain.
I hear a jay.
The cry is blue.
I have found you in the story again.
Is there another word for ‘‘divine’’?
I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind.
If I think behind me, I might break.
If I think forward, I lose now.
Forever will be a day like this
Strung perfectly on the necklace of days.
Slightly overcast
Yellow leaves
Your jacket hanging in the hallway
Next to mine.
– Joy Harjo

A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity.
– Aung San Suu Kyi

At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments.
– Aung San Suu Kyi

It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear…. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
– Aung San Suu Kyi​

forgive me
it is my silly poet’s heart
it sees the unspeakable very clearly —

.
– E.M.​

The artist and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

Love derails world-weary strategy, loosens cynicism from your heart, laces every single one of your bones with a complete re-boot of wonder. You guide your cattle through the Altai mountains in just one night and arrive at a green, slow-swishing Irish sea with moon-white sand between your toes. It is the greatest thing. Stay away from anyone that tells you otherwise. I mean turn around and walk away.
– Martin Shaw

​If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Behind the storm of daily conflict and crisis, the dramatic confrontations, the tumult of political struggle, the poet, the artist, the musician, continue the quiet work of centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples, reminding us of the universality of our feelings and desires, and despairs, and reminding us that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide.
– John F. Kennedy (1962)

I have this vision: That I would finally come and find you. Scattered pieces of distance would not stand in my way. Not needing words; the barest of glimpses would suffice for you and me.
– Franz Kafka

What is art? […] Like a declaration of love: the consciousness of our dependence on each other. A confession. An unconscious act that none the less reflects the true meaning of life—love and sacrifice.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

A Coal Fire in Winter
Something old and tyrannical burning there,
(Not like a wood fire which is only
The end of a summer or a life)
Something from darkness, heat
From the time before there was fire.
And I have come here
To warm that blackness into forms of light,
To set free a captive prince
From the sunken kingdom the father coal.
A warming company of the cold-blooded—
These carbon serpents of bituminous gardens,
These inflammable tunnels of dead song from the black pit,
This sparkling end of the great beasts, these blazing
Stone flowers, diamond fire of incandescent fruit.
And out of all that death, now,
At midnight, my love and I are riding
Down the old high roads of inexhaustible light.
– Thomas McGrath

In Praise of Ironing
-Pablo Neruda
Poetry is pure white.
It emerges from water covered with drops,
is wrinkled, all in a heap.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed out, the sea’s whiteness;
and the hands keep moving, moving,
the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
and that is how things are accomplished.
Every day, hands are creating the world,
fire is married to steel,
and canvas, linen, and cotton come back
from the skirmishings of the laundries,
and out of light a dove is born—
pure innocence returns out of the swirl.
(translated Alastair Reid)

Without an education in vision and values, male energy turns destructive instead of solving problems like peace and climate change.
– Thomas Moore

One of the balancing acts of the heart is between allegiance to what we are carrying in thought and the mind’s affections and allegiance to what is just here, this moment’s actual and entirely self-sufficient existence.
 – Jane Hirshfield

During the progressive unearthing of … unconscious material in the creative process, there is an articulation consisting both of separating away the past and of bringing together of present with past.
– Albert Rothenberg

A poet usually finds his poetry in another poet […] inevitably, it was long ago discovered that emulation was one of the most revolutionary forms of originality.
– Guy Davenport

The poet gave me back my spirit
which I had lost in prayer.
– Leonard Cohen

I’ve been waylaid
here in the dark wood of doubt,
searching for the next way out.
– Katy Didden

… to live is to feel oneself lost …
– José Ortega y Gasset

Maybe the soul is only a still place in the body,
The eye & not the eye,
Something both like an altar
And like a sill opening onto a distant landscape.
– Larry Levis

The work to be done is not about attacking confused people. It is about disempowering confusion itself.
– Ethan Nichtern

I grow silent. Dear soul, you speak.
– Rumi

A Moment
BY MARY ELIZABETH COLERIDGE
The clouds had made a crimson crown
Above the mountains high. 
The stormy sun was going down 
In a stormy sky.
Why did you let your eyes so rest on me,
And hold your breath between?
In all the ages this can never be
As if it had not been.

…words and people that seem permanently connected may come easily apart, and those that have nothing to do with each other may be joined to reshape the world.
– Peter Manseau, from Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter

O mind, you have forgotten your essence
and are lost in relentless speculation.
Day and night, you imagine finding
somewhere within relative existence
a cache of precious coins,

a brilliant solution to cyclic sorrow,

but every coin of this mundane realm
is worthless counterfeit.
Mother wisdom alone is pure gold,
the only treasure,
yet you barter her golden radiance
at the very center of your being
for a fragmentary world of mere colored glass.
O my idiotic mind,
what misfortune you have brought upon yourself?
No one reaps a rich harvest of insight
who has not sown the seeds of selfllessness.
The principle of action and its fruit
is incontrivertable.
You wander here and there, O mind,
remaining confined by the field of destiny
that you yourself have fenced and cultivated.
Times exists only through the mind,
spreading inexorably like the tendrils
of some vast undergrowth.
Singing Kali, Kali, Kali
with breath become pure and selfless,
practice her contemplation and cut time down
with the sword of nonduality.
This poet challenges humanity:
“How can you think clearly or kindly?
You have become a beast of burden,
bridled, saddled, and ridden
by senses, passions, mental faculties.
Each rider wants to take a different way.
How can you hope to reach
the evolutionary goal,
conscious union with her reality?”
– Ramprasad Sen

Weeping, Weeping, Weeping
by Gregory Orr
Weeping, weeping, weeping.
No wonder the oceans are full;
No wonder the seas are rising.
It’s not the beloved’s fault.
Dying is part of the story.
It’s not your fault either:
Tears are also.
But
You can’t read when you’re
Crying. Sobbing, you won’t
Hear the song that resurrects
The body of the beloved.
Why not rest awhile? If weeping
Is one of the world’s tasks,
It doesn’t lack adherents.
Someone will take your place,
Someone will weep for you.

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
– Samuel Adams, Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.

Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Hey friends. Please let’s do this one thing within the progressive community. Let’s try not to judge each other without cause. Let’s try not to make assumptions about what our friends are and are not doing to resist. Let’s think the best of each other. Let’s assume that each of us are fighting the fight in our own way with our own tools. Let’s share those tools and encourage each other without self righteousness whenever possible. I fear that if we do not we are lost.
– Pam L. Houston

‘practice’ is not a robotic thing.
it lives. and continually reconfigures us
so
habit…
no
longer
fits.
– Belle Heywood

A Pretty Song
From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.

Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?
This isn’t a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.

Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.

And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.
– Mary Oliver

endless patience will never be enough / the only hope is to be the daylight.
– W.S. MERWIN

The world’s spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind’s muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and that trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects act and rest purely, without utterance.
– Annie Dillard

Knowing you are alive is feeling the planet buck under you, rear, kick, and try to throw you; you hang on to the ring. It is riding the planet like a log downstream, whooping. Or, conversely, you step aside from the dreaming fast loud routine and feel time as a stillness about you, and hear the silent air asking in so thin a voice, remember, remember, remember? Then you feel your life as a weekend , a weekend you cannot extend, a weekend in the country.
– Annie Dillard

My two eyes / were souls grieving for the world.
– Octavio Paz

… as if in your soul there’s a place prepared in advance for my every thought.
– Vladimir Nabokov

I kept inventing new roads
between the wales of corduroy
or were they rows of fields I traveled?—
All the distances to get away from—
it was then as now—
mere edges to cross.
– Diane Glancy

Thus, harnessed to time, facing the inevitable,
constructed by science and fed on inexplicable events
taking place somewhere in the middle of history,
your day goes by. Miles away, the ocean
murmurs to its own beloved creatures, a mountain
applies pressure to the weaving of a golden seam
And in your house, the dog wonders
if you will make it home again. And each day,
despite or because the performance of this feat
is both a mystery and a triumph, somehow
you will. You do.
– Eleanor Lerman
from To Live in This World Requires

Love, and don’t be caught in opinions and ideas about what love is or should be. When you love, everything will come right. Love has its own action. Love, and you will know the blessings of it. Keep away from the authority who tells you what love is and what it is not. No authority knows and he who knows cannot tell. Love, and there is understanding.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles;
Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.
– John F. Kennedy

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
– Voltaire

What I want is the other world in this world. What I want is the way up and the way down, the way in and the way out. What I want is the poem that rears up like a mythic creature from the dark place of origins, only to transform into the holy, unrepeatable faces of the living. What I want is the mythic wings still thrumming inside them.
– Joseph Fasano

Poets are not born in a country. Poets are born in childhood.
– Ilya Kaminsky

I sometimes fantasize that maybe, my love, just maybe, if you could see the world as I do, see it clearly and removed from these disfiguring words I rely on to convey it, and yet which inevitably distort, dilute, detract from the reality I am trying to relate to you, maybe you would come back, however briefly. If you could see the wreckage wrought since your departure, you might understand how mere minutes of your presence could work wonders.
– Elias Lindert

Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.
– B.F. Skinner

In the end you have to become some kind of nutrient rich, many boughed tree of splendid crookedness to the ones coming. If you achieve nothing else, create some shade for the seedlings to grow. Practice becoming an ancestor. Outrageous and maintained generosity, a degree of useful wiliness, and workers hands are all identifying characteristics. Identity comes not from what you claim is your innermost self but from the myriad ways you reach out and touch the world. They are your tribal marks, your pirate banner, your relatedness; that is what will have you claimed at the gates of heaven as a proper human being, not the hundred times you put your own whims first..
– Martin Shaw

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
– Helen Keller

Our mouth is the gateway to so many kinds of karma. What goes in (food, drink, etc.) becomes inextricably linked with who we are and who we are becoming. What goes out (speech mostly) has a lot to do with how our relationships with others and with our world take shape.
– David Nichtern

We need to educate ourselves in ways that help us listen deeply to people—- and it doesn’t matter if we have had their experience. What matters is that we can listen, and we can listen well enough that their experience can be healed and transformed. So a lot of it is about the power of simply listening and holding a space of compassion for people sharing their difficulties, their pain, their insights. A lot of that can be done without saying a word, just by staying open with your own breathing and making sure that your heart stays open.
– Thick Nhat Hanh

Recently, I received a curt remark from a western man with a Tibetan buddhist name who accusing me of putting Leonard Cohen on a pedestal. On the contrary, I wanted to say, I love LC precisely because of his humanness and warmth, and his legendary good humour. The man went on to lecture me—in a viciously condescending manner in which his person seemed quite present—that all concepts of the ‘self’ and good or bad were an illusion. When people have nothing to give but spiritual terminology, or criticism they can’t hear the birds sing, they talk over your head, they are dogmatic. I wondered if this man had ever written a love letter: a love letter is a betrayal of fondness for another human being, it permits itself flights of lyricism as a way to express the inexpressible. A love letter also characterizes the essence of Leonard Cohen’s songs. How much more alive is a poetic response to the world than the dogmatic one!
– Andrew Sweeny

for landscape can do it too, as well as art,
provide a medium for our only true life.”
– Karl Kirchwey

Before you roar some great truth, practice whispering it.
– Yahia Lababidi

Live your life in such a way that other people will be thankful you’re in the room.
– Marianne Williamson

Poetry is a sort of homecoming.
– Paul Celan

Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.
– Anaïs Nin

Forest Orison
Whoever spoke to me first—
rock, wind, bird, or fir—whoever broke
the membrane of silence
(I watched its tatters waft like
rags of albumen in water)
whoever made skin skin, not
air, not fur, not sand, not fiber,
whoever uprooted me from the soil
of nothing, whacked breath into me,
unleashed my voice, I ask you now:
Come back.
I know you’re there. I see
your hoofprints in muck, your
signature in torn tree bark, hear
your rowdy scuffle as I walk by.
The leaves Sway. Where you’ve nested
the pressed grass cups form without
substance. Smack in my path
your scat sings its small joke:
blackness riddled with seed and sign.
I’ve heard you breathing softly
snuffling to smell my smell
moving near and ever away.
Your tail has flicked fire on the path
before me, your shape assembled
from deep within the patterned trees,
then come apart. In the rain
in the brisk sigh of ice on the river.
I’ve heard your voices.
When I call, you answer with
a whoosh and shut of air,
and ringing silence.
I ask again and will again:
Come back.
– Gyorgyi Voros

Earlier today, it occurred to me that, in terms of the culture we create, we’re pursuing the wrong goal. We have been wholly focused on doing as little damage to the environment as we can and that is the supremest good we can imagine. What if we aim higher? What if we shift our focus from being minimally harmful to being maximally beneficial? As an example, take what I was doing when I had this epiphany. What if the laundry detergent that was about to issue forth from my machine was not only not bad for the environment but was a boon to it? What if we, as a civilization, decided that being a neutral factor on the planet was too low a bar? What if, instead, we resolved that human activity should be a net positive?
– Ean Behr

Word
by Madeleine L’Engle

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.

What we beyond doubt do have is our instinctive intellectual curiosity about the universe from the quasars down to the quarks, our wonder at existence itself, and an occasional surge of sheer blind gratitude for being here.
– John Updike

No man was ever yet a great poet, without at the same time being a profound philosopher.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

We are entering a period where we are going to have to be very clear in putting our money towards what we actually believe in.
– Ethan Nichtern

…But this is the slowed-down season
held fast by darkness
and if no one comes to keep you company
then keep watch over your own solitude.
In that stillness, you will learn
with your whole body
the significance of cold
and the night,
which is otherwise always eluding you.
– Patricia Fargnoli

I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry; poetry and love and again, complete chaos. Pain, disorder, occasional clarity; and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry. Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation. It all comes with love.
― Anna Akhmatova

Spell To Be Said Against Hatred

Until each breath refuses “they,” “those,” “them.”
Until the Dramatis Personae of the book’s first page says “Each one is you.”
Until hope bows to its hopelessness only as one self bows to another.
Until cruelty bends to its work and sees suddenly “I.”
Until anger and insult know themselves burnable legs of a useless chair.
Until the unsurprised unbidden knees find themselves nonetheless bending.
Until fear bows to its object as a bird’s shadow bows to its bird.
Until the ache of the solitude inside the hands, the ribs, the ankles.
Until the sound the mouse makes inside the mouth of the cat.
Until the inaudible acids bathing the coral.
Until what feels no one’s weighing is no longer weightless.
Until what feels no one’s earning is no longer taken.
Until grief, pity, confusion, laughter, longing see themselves mirrors.
Until by “we” we mean I, them, you, the muskrat, the tiger, the hunger.
Until by “I” we mean as a dog barks, sounding and vanishing and sounding and
vanishing completely.
Until by “until” we mean I, we, you, them, the muskrat, the tiger, the hunger,
the lonely barking of the dog before it is answered.
– Jane Hirshfield

Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures… There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensible to it.
– Sigmund Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents.

Relationship is the medicine.
– Lorena Palazzo​

A vigorous walk will do more good
for an unhappy, but otherwise healthy, adult
than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
– Paul Dudley White, M.D.

We could argue that our education is a failure,
no matter what it has done for our head,
if it has done nothing for our heart.
– Ashley Montague

Allow children [and adults]
to be happy their own way;
for what better way will they ever find?
– Samuel Johnson​

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

The land around us (and within us) teaches with each passing season, and with each flood, drought, fire and storm, that out of change, crisis and a dying to what was, there appears a new story of form and adaptation. And that how we respond and integrate change into the fabric of our ongoing story colors the character of what comes next.
– Meredith Little

Each word beautiful ice that can melt and
refreeze, look at these diamonds in the no light of the mind of us.
Nothing can be explained; voices are what count.
– Alice Notley

Magic is not a practice. It is a living, breathing web of energy that, with our permission, can encase our every action.
– Dorothy Morrison

Poetry, and the arts in general, does several wonderful things. It examines the emotional complexity of the moment and scratches below the surface, and that’s very important. it also lets us have empathy for each other and humanize a political issue so that we can see beyond the rhetoric, and in that way, it sort of gives us a new way to think, a new way to frame something, and in that sense it gives us hope, and it gives us a new path.
– Richard Blanco

A poem takes back language, reenergizes it, reinvigorates it in a way that a post doesn’t. Language, and all art, offers a kind of consolation because it speaks truth and it speaks hope and it speaks all sorts of things you won’t get from a tweet or a newspaper or a post.
– Richard Blanco

…and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.
– James Baldwin

A story beats with the heart of every person who has ever strained ears to listen. On the breath of the storyteller, it soars. Until its images and deeds become so real you can see them in the air, shimmering like oases on the horizon line.
– Cameron Dokey

…Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
– John O’Donohue

If I had to choose any single feature (short of compassion itself) beyond religion that contributes to peace, it would be the ability to self-reflect and recognize one’s own faults. Is there any other way to take responsibility for one’s own predicament? If viewed properly, it is empowering to recognize ones own culpability in the arising of phenomenon.
– Lama Rangbar Nyimai Ozer

Questions are generally aimed at a future (or a past)…But during this time, while you turn in circles among these questions, there are becomings which are silently at work, which are almost imperceptible. We think too much in terms of history, whether personal or universal. Becomings belong to geography, they are orientations, directions, entries and exits.
– Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II

The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.
– Alain de Botton

No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even more important are psychological and spiritual skills. You must be proficient at making friends and allies, defending yourself against enemies, and resolving conflicts. You will need to know what to do when you lose heart, when you feel more deeply than you thought possible, when you want to run, when you need to let go of what is dear to you but holds you back, when you get stuck, when you suddenly break through.
– Bill Plotkin

We are so lightly here. It is in love that we are made. In love we disappear.
– Leonard Cohen

There is a difference between longing and desire.
The difference is loving.
The difference is : one yearns for union with all that is redemptive of return to truth. Longing IS beauty, goodness, and truth. It is the activity of a timeless sacred dancing. It is the natural almighty urging of the seed to push up through the dirt to the light.
Desire is the dearth of that very yearning for light. One wrong turn leading to endless rounds of suffering.
There is a difference between longing and desire.
Desire is dissatisfied and leads to dissatisfaction.
Longing has a hunch.
Longing follows a golden thread…
Longing knows there is a holy grail.
Longing leads always to Bliss.
Desire has no hunch- only a mean kind of wantingness. A want with no give. A groping mouth in a rotten dimness.
Longing in it’s sweet piercingness, keeps cracking us open….
Opening us to an unstoppable giving….
Longing longs with loving …devoting itself to loving.
Desire desires with starved aggression addicting itself to temporary hits of pleasure.
There is a difference between longing and desire.
To say it simply:
longing is loving,
beginningless ( beginning, middle and end too ) endless loving.
– Belle Heywood, 2013

Go back and take care of yourself. Your body needs you, your feelings need you, your perceptions need you. Your suffering needs you to acknowledge it. Go home and be there for all these things.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

How easy it is nowadays to forget about the body. Do we even know how to live as bodies anymore? We are nebulae of contemplation, memory, and longing.
What you realize after being forced to do all these core-to-life tasks is that working feels good. The paralysis of a life of leisure and body-ignorance begins to fall away. Numb spots in the brain and in the muscles of the body start to activate and remember how to work together. The body responds to integration. Empowerment starts to creep in. Working helps us remember our evolutionary potential—what these physical bodies were made for. And getting it right gives us the courage and confidence to keep trying.
– Lee Walker Warren

I want to be a star blown in / the wind from the river, one of a thousand empty things on its breath.
– Alice Notley

An awe so quiet
I don’t know when it began.

A gratitude
had begun
to sing in me.

Was there
some moment
dividing song from no song?

When does dewfall begin?

When does night
fold its arms over our hearts
to cherish them?

When is daybreak?

– Denise Levertov

Happiness
by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?

You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

When you live from your intuitive core, your belly, your heart, let your soul lead and spirit guide you, your words and actions will be naturally subversive.

You will go to your edge. You will soften. Become wildly tender.

Question is, will you wholly inhabit your own revolution? In beauty? This inner revolution is a perpetual ceremony of the heart. It’s what you are for.

When you are real, cooked down to essence, rather than half-baked to get approval, to look good, the projections from others may fly, seek you out and try to stick to you. Don’t let them. Instead, let your authenticity support you in carrying on whole-hearted, vulnerable conversation to resolve whatever arises. It is hard work. Uncomfortable. Deeply human. Can be harrowing. And often downright delicious. Intimate. Naked. Courageous work marked by your solid presence. Here. Now.

I’d rather be whole than good, C. G. Jung said. And by whole, he meant real, messy, ensouled, deeply human, heart-broken open with compassion flowing first to ourselves, to resource and prepare to let it flow widely, to others.

Being too comfortable, amenable, pliable to the point of contorting yourself — is a ticket to selling your soul right up the river. Don’t buy it. When you live from your own knowing-ness, from your gut and your wildly-rooted intelligence, you feel alive. Genuinely, madly, creatively alive.

Being real — true to your Self, your soul — is gritty. And grit causes friction, makes fire to clear the way for living a revolutionary act. This act is marked by action that the earth and the soul of the world are crying out for. And the cry is going to get louder, more pain-filled, and grievous before enough souls answer wholeheartedly.

When you get real, it is actually not about you. Your individual program is only the ground from which you step. From which you step and choose whether you will make this life of yours a walk of grit and beauty, or one of accommodation to the forces that insist you do it their way, be well-behaved, produce, consume, make nice, and as the poet, Mary Oliver says, “barely breathing and calling it a life.”

Thing is we’re not talking a self-improvement project; that’s only the gateway. We are being used. By Spirit. One way or the other: we go consciously or we are abducted — individually and collectively, now. So it’s a great time to dive in.

When we realize we have no choice but to offer ourselves up — like a sacrifice — to the mystery of Great Spirit’s guidance, this guidance insists on shaping us as a soul-centered contributor. And we’re in it! Soul’s got us. And Spirit carries us along. We’re goners to those egoic, mechanistic, competitive ways; the ways that have undone the earth and so many souls who walk the earth, swim her waters, send roots down into her and watch from the skies.

To inhabit your own core, your vital, knowing center and a soul-centered way of being, you need to do the inner excavation. What we call, in Jungian psychology-speak, Shadow work and in shamanic-speak, Underworld soul work, including ego-dismemberment work to heal old wounds and retrieve parts of your soul you had otherwise disowned or split off. We need these pieces of our souls, as well as aspects of our bodies, and our connection with Spirit, and with the earth, along with the Other-than-human-ones and wild intelligent forms of life — to feel deliciously alive, ready to roll, to serve this crying earth and love ’em up.

This is real adult work, asking everything of you. And will alter your world completely, but before that happens you’ll be met with severing old ways, dismemberment, metaphoric death, dreams, visions — both lovely and horrifically heart-pounding, yummy, gut-wrenching, Beauty, raging tears, sweet snot, broken open heart, blue-shimmering darkness, warm, comforting light. Rebirth. Love. Hope. A deep sense of connection with it all. And a palpable knowing of what you are for.

So it’s a slow dive, a conscious descent into the depths of your soul, the dark ground of your being and your dreams: the Underworld of your psyche. This is vital work — no way around it — to discover what you’ve tucked away in the archetypal Shadow of your own psyche. If you’re lucky you will unearth what you had otherwise disowned to adapt to the egoic, mechanistic, competitive, earth-ravaging ways of modern Western culture. And most often, these pieces of your otherwise whole psyche that you had disowned are what makes you utterly You. Beautifully. Creatively. Wildly alive. Authentically so. You. And you are needed here.

Your essential soul’s powers — what you were born with before you lost track of them and they, you — are to be found there, in that excavation into your dark depths, awaiting you to carry them home, like mama leopard carries kitties. With a fierce tenderness, knowing that all life — yours, your beloveds, the earth, humans and other than humans — is at stake. The world needs you to be fully alive. Real. The world needs you to find, bring home and embody your soul’s gifts and healing powers. It’s messy work. It’s what we are for.

When you are transparent, you will stand out as you are truly seen. When you are transparent, others can “see through” you into you as your heart and true essence shines. You are clear, direct and kind. You are not an enigma; you don’t leave people scratching their heads wondering what you just said and did.

You do not hide. You are honest to the bone. You are courage enfleshed.

When you are congruent, you are wholistically aligned. What you think, say, feel in your heart, feel in your body and the actions you take line up to support and reflect each other. You know it in your body, often in your gut, when you put your attention there.

Congruent. Authenticity happens in the guts and bowels of your life. Being authentic is the grunt-work of the soul, of any deeply human, spiritual path. Being half here, half there, half-hearted, faking it to look good, strategizing to make things easier for your self — that’s the common way of the unconscious clotted middle, driven by our egoic, addicted culture. It’s a way that lacks wholeheartedness. Lacks real courage to let the heart break. Shatter. Broken whole and holy open to finally know compassion for self, others, earth. To live and love — on-fire, fully alive, juiced and ready to serve.

Being authentic and soul-centered costs you your ticket to ride from the collective mainstream to the illusion of safe and secure. And opens the door to your bloody and glistening, broken whole heart — reveals to you the honey of this wildly delicious, messy life. Leaves you and those you touch, feeling radically free. Without choice now. Solid and light. Authenticity strips away all that is NOT real. All that is not made from love, to love. All that is of enriched soul and in-spired Spirit remains. There is no living a soul-centered life without being authentic — without mustering the courage to do the excavating in the dark: the Shadow work.

Again, C. G. Jung: “People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”

What will you do?

– Melissa La Flamme

The cost of sanity, in this society, is a certain level of alienation.
– Terence McKenna

Reading should commit us to a vision, should engage our humanity.
– George Steiner

We will disrupt through witness, remembrance, and the courtship of the imagination. We will escort children past the darkest warrens of the forest. We will construct kites that stay aloft in the rain. We will champion what is beautiful, and so finally make our opponents irrelevant.
– Owen Daniels in “Apocalypse” from Resistance by Barry Lopez

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
– Jack London

If we always turn our mind to virtue, we always experience happiness as a result.
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Most problems are mysteries, or have a mysterious dimension. We deal with them better by looking deeply and poetically.
– Thomas Moore

When I fell into the world…
I fell from separateness, I fell from constriction.
I fell from the ice castle of myself, through
the rushing darkness, past screams,
past fear. I did not float up, I fell down,
and it was the world that waited
as I was stripped bare, as I tumbled out
of my self—faster and faster through blue
clouds and white, into the unknown arms
of joyfulness, toward the beings unnumbered
who opened their hearts in love.
– Richard Wehrman

Today is a day to commit ourselves to the forces of regeneration—even if we can’t see clearly what they will be or how they will manifest… Consider how we can somehow still protect and heal our threatened and beautiful earth. Plant a seed today, or create something beautiful; care for a child or an elder or a person on the street. Be kind to someone. Be kind to yourself. And do it as a magical act, an act imbued with intention: that whatever comes down around us, we will choose compassion. We will serve regeneration.
– Starhawk

The approach of the warrior in working with the setting-sun world is like an autumn leaf floating down a river.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Dedication
BY CZESLAW MILOSZ

You whom I could not save
Listen to me.
Try to understand this simple speech as I would be ashamed of another.
I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.
I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.

What strengthened me, for you was lethal.
You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one,
Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty;
Blind force with accomplished shape.

Here is a valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge
Going into white fog. Here is a broken city;
And the wind throws the screams of gulls on your grave
When I am talking with you.

What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.
That I wanted good poetry without knowing it,
That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,
In this and only this I find salvation.

They used to pour millet on graves or poppy seeds
To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds.
I put this book here for you, who once lived
So that you should visit us no more.

Warsaw, 1945

Some of us are here to do deep work on ourselves and, light work on the outside.
Some of us are here to do wide work on the outside and, light work on ourselves.
Some of here are to do wide, yet light work with many others.
Some of us are here to do deep work, with a few others.
Some of us can actually manage to do deep work with ourselves and with many others.
Some of us are here to be quite aimless and taste a little bit of everything.
What if no one way is inherently better than another? What if every way is experienced fully for what it is? What is it like to drop preferences and identities and feel the raw pulse of life as it experiences all possibilities through the clever disguise called “you”?
– Nithya Shanti

Children of Our Age
by Wislawa Szymborska
We are children of our age,
it’s a political age.
All day long, all through the night,
all affairs–yours, ours, theirs–
are political affairs.
Whether you like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin, a political cast,
your eyes, a political slant.
Whatever you say reverberates,
whatever you don’t say speaks for itself.
So either way you’re talking politics.
Even when you take to the woods,
you’re taking political steps
on political grounds.
Apolitical poems are also political,
and above us shines a moon
no longer purely lunar.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
And though it troubles the digestion
it’s a question, as always, of politics.
To acquire a political meaning
you don’t even have to be human.
Raw material will do,
or protein feed, or crude oil,
or a conference table whose shape
was quarreled over for months;
Should we arbitrate life and death
at a round table or a square one?
Meanwhile, people perished,
animals died,
houses burned,
and the fields ran wild
just as in times immemorial
and less political.

Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from your views in order to be open to receive other’s viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

The key is to be fully accepting of yourself and letting yourself be enamored with the poetry, and whatever it is you’re doing with language, because you just love it so much—you don’t know why, and you don’t know if you can really write good, but that doesn’t matter anymore.
– Juan Felipe Herrera

Meeting the Light Completely
by Jane Hirshfield
Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.
Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.
A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.
Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.
And then
what is said by all lovers:
“What fools we were, not to have seen.”

I Like the Possibilities
I like the idea of going there together,
and by there, I mean anywhere you are—
even shivering in an igloo as the Inuit do,
or gaping at the iguanas on a beach in Mexico.
We could chase the Isis moths in distant Indonesia
or race with the impalas across savannas in Mozambique.
If you want to plant an iris that will grow up indigo,
I will help you dig the hole in the dirt outside our door.
If you want to go get ice cream—perhaps a triple scoop—
I will take you to the ice cream store and share my cone
with you. Let’s play swords in the back yard with December’s icicles,
or let’s travel miraculously to the Earth’s iron core.
Or let’s just disappear to some island in the sky,
a place that no one else has ever been before.
Some mornings, I go traveling in the iris of your eyes—
and always I arrive in one of my favorite places to be. It’s here,
with you, wherever you are in this astonishing world
of wings, horns, snow, bloom, reptiles, ibis, trees.
-Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Pause
~ sometimes for an hour on a bench
at a train station you’re leaving from
you plan to read
but dry gold and scarlet leaves
scratch and scud over brickwork.
A twist of ruby licorice
discarded on the bench.
~ on one side of the gift bookmark
in the closed novel are words,
on the other a photograph: slice
of blue-and-white tile table, yellow
chrysanthemums next to
an empty basket whose reeds
weave the sun from a many-paned window
When you look up, time steams
from the rails.
~ in the trees along the tracks, a glittering,
not drops of snowmelt
but tiny lights, festive for December.
A train going the other way
briefly erases everything. You hold
the book, the trees hold some leaves
curled like shells. Although the schedule
is subject to change, you
can purchase a ticket at the window
on this pause of platform,
for any destination.
– Veronica Patterson

On those long December nights, She is the light of Winter.
– John Gorka

Zen….Sufism…..Shamanism

None of the above are a philosophy of life……..More they are an undoing of what most believe is the mind.

Not only is zen, sufism, shamanism and undoing of conditioning which most believe is their mind their self, the water in the glass that is confused with its receptacle.

It is like the actor believing they are the character being portrayed. As soon as the artist believes he is the character he loses self direction, spontaneity and creativity. When we as humans believe we are the carpenter, politician, doctor or priest we lose the freedom and growth of continued expression through discovery.

Lost to a Script

– Dino Delano

I was concentrated entirely into the durable moment of translation, which begins in humility, a sublimation of the self so extreme that the music of someone else’s mind might be heard. And for a while, no remnant of me existed outside of that moment.
– Forrest Gander

There Ain’t Nothing Like a Song
Elvis Presley

When you say that’s it boy
I’m finally beat
You’re goin’ ninety miles an hour
Down a dead end street

You don’t want to fight no more
You think that you can’t win
Come on boy take a real deep breath
Jump right in and

Hold your head up high
Oh you gotta be strong
Come on and sing, sing, sing
There ain’t nothing like a song

Now they may take away your job
Take your fancy car
They may repossess your clothes, take that fine guitar
They may take everything you own
Well that’s just for today
As long as you’ve got a song in your heart
Tomorrow’s gonna be O.K.

Hold your head up high
Oh you gotta be strong
Come on and sing, sing, sing
There ain’t nothing like a song
All right

There ain’t nothing gonna stop you
Once you’ve set your mind
The only people gonna knock you
Are jealous of what they find
Just keep a smile right on your face
Don’t let ’em get you down
When you wake up tomorrow
The world is spinnin’ round

Hold your head up high, hey, hey, hey
You gotta be strong, all right
Come on and sing, sing, sing
There ain’t nothing like a song

Well lovin’s all that I can give you
(Baby that’s enough)
You ain’t easy to satisfy
(Baby I ain’t that tough)
Now hey little girl you’re about the wildest
Thing I’ve ever seen
(When I’m with you baby I’m a lovin’ machine)
Come on and kiss me honey
Oh you gotta be strong
Come on and sing, sing

Nights are worse. Darkness,
as it makes love to the glass, grows thick
and rich, advertising for itself, it whispers
memory muscle, whispers
Guinness is good for you, whispers
loss is its own fur, whispers
once, once
irresistibly,
– Don McKay

Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is—what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is—what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos.
– G. K. Chesterton

Knowing you are alive is feeling the planet buck under you, rear, kick, and try to throw you; you hang on to the ring. It is riding the planet like a log downstream, whooping. Or, conversely, you step aside from the dreaming fast loud routine and feel time as a stillness about you, and hear the silent air asking in so thin a voice, Have you noticed yet that you will die? Do you remember, remember, remember? [*] Then you feel your life as a weekend, a weekend you cannot extend, a weekend in the country.
– Annie Dillard

…many of us in this time have lost the inner substance of our lives and have forgotten to give praise and remember the sacredness of life. 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 longing and restlessness that we can’t name, a yearning that tugs at us. Something in our human blood is still searching for it, still listening, still remembering. Nicaraguan poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal wrote, “We have always wanted something beyond what we wanted.” I have loved those words, how they speak to the longing place inside us that seeks to be whole and connected to the earth.
– Linda Hogan

On the windless days, when the maples have put forth their deep canopies, and the sky is wearing its new blue immensities, and the wind has dusted itself not an hour ago in some spicy field and hardly touches us as it passes by, what is it we do? We lie down and rest upon the generous earth. Very likely we fall asleep.
– Mary Oliver

Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.
– Elie Wiesel, Dawn

See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.
– Wayne Dyer

One of the greatest lessons that comes from meditation is that a relaxed curiosity about life and sleepwalking through it are two radically different choices.
– Ethan Nichtern, One City: A Declaration of Interdependence

…thoughts aren’t the problem. Problems only develop when thoughts no longer arise from or refer to actual experience. That’s when thoughts start ossifying into their own bureaucratic institutions, becoming assumptions and dogma.
– Ethan Nichtern

Creation continues each time a moment of wholeness occurs in the soul. Then the world becomes again what it has always been and is meant to be, a place of awe and beauty, of wonder and mystery; a living ground of renewal and revelation and the manifest place of creation ongoing.
– Michael Meade

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ Someone once asked the Dalai Lama what to do when they felt angry at someone. He said, “Try to think of more than two other things about this person”. For instance, they are a good mother or they brought you soup when you were sick. The minute we step out of objectifying someone, or something as one-dimensional, we are stepping into emptiness.

The ancient Irish had a mythic notion about times when the center cannot hold, when the world falls apart. When the whole thing seems hopeless and people feel helpless, then the time has come to seek for the missing center again. When the center no longer holds, it must be sought in the margins of life and at the edges of the unknown.
– Michael Meade

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Maybe, Then

If you can’t hear the turkey tail and the bright green
moss singing on the rotted oak corpse, please don’t bother me.
If you can’t converse with a stone or
haven’t even thought about learning the language of birds,
Please move on.
Life is short. Each one.
I want my allegiances to be with lovers;
the kind that reach out and invite everything to touch them.
Two hands are not enough for this world
in my humble opinion.
There is so much to hold beyond fear, beyond hatred,
and so we must use our sensibilities to find each other.

Let my prayers be that you will hear the angels at the corpse
and listen for a long while to what the stones know
about the bodies that they have met.
And, the birds, the birds. Let me pray that someday, soon,
you will understand what they are saying about
the need to wake and rise.

Maybe, then, we could take a walk together
and be astonished
by the beauty of this world.

Maybe, then, a poet could be understood.

– Jamie K. Reaser

November, 2016
The popularity of adult coloring books should have been a sign.
– Sommer Browning

If everything were lovey-dovey and jellyfish like, there would be nothing to work with.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Go take refuge in nature, and find a cause where your heart doesn’t feel inactive and in despair. This is the medicine. We go out and we help. Don’t allow hate and anger to take over your world. There are other things happening. Right now people in our family are still there, and they might need us. Our friend may be somebody who is being discriminated against. You can only be there to offer them kindness if you are stable.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Our blood asks, how were the wealthy
and the law interwoven?
With what sulfurous iron fabric? How did the
poor keep falling into the tribunals?
How did the land become so bitter
for poor children, harshly
nourished on stone and grief?
So it was, and so I leave it written.
Their lives wrote it on my brow.
– Pablo Neruda

Silence can be a plan
rigorously executed

the blueprint to a life

Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence

– Adrienne Rich

All of us yearn for the highest wisdom, but we have to rely on ourselves in the end.
– Czeslaw Milosz

…But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that—when you feel it—brings you to your knees.
There are yet words that come near the unsayable,
and, from crumbling stones, a new music…
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

It is not a crucified but a glorified body that will save the world.
– The Mother (Mirra Alfassa)

Egos are eternally childish and petulant and therefore to be adults we have to battle with them every day. A world where egos are transparent and seen through is that Edenic place that doesn’t exist as some mythological world, but is right here in the ‘unified heart’. In that place the child and the adult, energy and intelligence become one. All of our ‘popular problems’ are born in the split, and the task of the fully adult artist is to reunite them.
– Andrew Sweeny​

Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody’s head off.
– Mary Karr

You mustn’t wish for another life.
You mustn’t want to be somebody else.
What you must do is this:

Rejoice evermore. …
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks.

I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.
– Wendell Berry​

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.
– Wendell Berry

Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the center of the universe.
– George Saunders

To seize the idea by the scruff of the neck and rub its nose on the paper.
– Jules Renard

If my heart could do my thinking
would my brain begin to feel?
– Van Morrison

Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now … Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
– Annie Dillard

Haiku is not a shriek, a howl, a sigh, or a yawn; rather, it is the deep breath of life.
– Santōka Taneda

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
– Steven Pressfield

Each of us has a truth as unique as our own fingerprints. Without knowing that truth, without speaking it aloud, we cannot know who we are and that we are already whole. In the most profound way, speaking our truth allows us to know that our life matters, that our viewpoint has never existed before. That our suffering, our joy, our fears, and our hopes are important and meaningful. One of the best-kept secrets in this technically oriented culture is that simply speaking truth heals.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth – inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important. The heart is the only book worth reading.
– Ajahn Chah

I love you in slow, dim-witted ways / Hardly speaking, one or two words only.
– Robert Bly

I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing – not just a waiting.
– Susan Sontag

In quoting others, we cite ourselves.
– Julio Cortazar​

When we are passionately engaged in a creative venture – love, art or something else that is really worthwhile – we draw support from other minds and other beings, seen and unseen. According to the direction of our will and desire, and the depth of our work, those minds may include masters from other times and other beings. We draw greater support the greater the challenges involved in our venture. Great spirits love great challenges.
– Robert Moss

Earlier tonight, a young monk, laughing,
splashing my face
with holy water. Then, just as unexpectedly,
he flew down a banister, and
for one millisecond
without feet –
was an angel – robed,
all irrepressibly joy
and good news.
– Kathleen Norris
from Land for the Living

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

How words, grown corporate or brash,
crave respite from themselves,
how they long to open
ooid as an aging mooseprint,
into unfamiliar vowels.
As the rain,
like a conversation turning mean,
slides into sleet, I eddy out
into those pauses—uterine, caesural,
mammal. Hold them, memory,
breathe fresh air into their emptinesses
while they keep my heavy
history-laden life
afloat.
– Don McKay

I like to be mystified [b]ecause it’s really that place which is unreachable, or mysterious, at which the poem becomes ours, finally, becomes the possession of the reader. I mean, in the act of figuring it out, of pursuing meaning, the reader is absorbing the poem, even though there’s an absence in the poem. But he just has to live with that. And eventually, it becomes essential that it exists in the poem, so that something beyond his understanding, or beyond his experience, or something that doesn’t quite match up with his experience, becomes more and more his. He comes into possession of a mystery, you know—which is something that we don’t allow ourselves in our lives.
– Mark Strand

If I were to say what binds me to people in the most touching way, it is these tokens of steadfastness that are sometimes, richly as they are undeservedly, given to one: the happy perenniality of a memory that apparently without any care still goes on and survives…
– Rainer Maria Rilke

—Words, like all things, are caught in their finitude.
They start here, they finish here
No matter how high they rise—
my judgment is that I know this
And never love anything hard enough
That would stamp me
and sink me suddenly into bliss.

– Charles Wright

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.
– Paulo Coelho

A poem is like a radio that can broadcast continuously for thousands of years.
– Allen Ginsberg

In our lives, Hestia (the goddess of the hearth) is a soul bridge – the turn inward. The delight of padding the house in early morning light as all busyness seems to be bustling along someplace outside. The joy of closing the door – a constantly open door is an insult to many sacred things. She is a great settling a room dappled by firelight not bulb, deep reflectiveness …
– Martin Shaw

Nothing / ever stops in my world to hear me / singing to you.
– Paul Guest

There are so many things wrong with the world. But the fact that there is an emoji for Ramen says that human wisdom exists.
– Ethan Nichtern

…We live
by lives we don’t intend, lives
that exceed our thoughts and needs, outlast
our designs, staying by passing through,
surviving again and again the risky passages
from ice to warmth, dark to light.
Rightness of scale is our second care:
the willingness to think and work
within the limits of our competence
to do no permanent wrong to anything
of permanent worth to the earth’s life,
known or unknown, now or ever, never
destroying by knowledge, unknowingly,
what we do not know, so that the world
in its mystery, the known unknown world,
will live and thrive while we live.
– Wendell Berry

Drala is the elemental presence of the world that is available to us through sense perceptions. When we open to trees, flowers, a creek or clouds we encounter an actual wisdom, though one that is not separate from our own. Beholding a river is much more than merely looking at a river; potentially, we are meeting the dralas. A friend of mine was once with her family in upstate New York. It was winter and they had hiked into a forest. The landscape was one of cold and snow, whiteness and silence, birch trees. Astonished by the pristine beauty, my friend realized it was her duty – not just to notice this beauty – but to stop and linger with it. To let it penetrate her. To listen. We fail to see one of our first responsibilities to the world is an aesthetic one.
– Bill Scheffel

i trust the ones
who are always
seeking to grow
– Yung pueblo

Everybody turns to someone
Who is compassionate and generous
The way merchant ships constantly return
To the harbor of a treasure-laden sea.
– Gungthang Jampalyang, The Water Poem

To change the fruits, you have to change the roots. To change the visible, you must first change the invisible.
– T. H Eker

A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.
– Albert Einstein

Chogyam Trungpa ~ “Ignorance is the sense of having one particular aim and object and goal in mind. And that aim and object, that goal-mindedness, becomes extremely overwhelming, so you fail to see the situation around you. That seems to be the ignorance. Your mind is highly preoccupied with what you want, so you fail to see what is.” ~ Transcending Madness.

The word truth often represents an attitude too fixed, narrow and inflexible. It might be better to go for insight.
– Thomas Moore

Fianuis
By Kathleen Jamie
Well, friend, we’re here again —
sauntering the last half-mile to the land’s frayed end
to find what’s laid on for us, strewn across the turf —
gull feathers, bleached shells,
a whole bull seal, bone-dry,
knackered from the rut
(we knock on his leathern head, but no one’s home).
Change, change — that’s what the terns scream
down at their seaward rocks;
fleet clouds and salt kiss —
everything else is provisional,
us and all our works.
I guess that’s why we like it here:
listen — a brief lull,
a rock pipit’s seed-small notes.

When the elders ask us to proceed prayerfully, what do they mean? To be prayerful is to be in awareness of the sacred. We too easily forget the sacred, whether in relationship to human beings or to other-than-human beings like trees, soil, and rivers. If prayer is sacred speech, then to act prayerfully is to be reverent in action as well as speech. The dehumanization that leads us onto the warpath is the opposite of reverence.
– Charles Eisenstein

I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
– Anne Lamott

My soul is weary of your cruelty.
My poems are shackled by your chains.
– Simin Behbahani

The test of courage comes
when we are in the minority.
The test of tolerance comes
when we are in the majority.
– Ralph Sockman

Because beauty is boundless,
love shall never cease.
– St. Gregory of Nyssa

As an intuitive introvert, I rarely feel lonely when alone. When I was in my early twenties, I took a job in a lookout tower, fire-watching in the forest. I was alone on a mountain peak for four months and I never felt lonely…The moment I returned to civilization, loneliness descended on me like a landslide.
– Robert A. Johnson

I Know, I Remember, But How Can I Help You
BY HAYDEN CARRUTH
The northern lights. I wouldn’t have noticed them
if the deer hadn’t told me
a doe her coat of pearls her glowing hoofs
proud and inquisitive
eager for my appraisal
and I went out into the night with electrical steps
but with my head held also proud
to share the animal’s fear
and see what I had seen before
a sky flaring and spectral
greenish waves and ribbons
and the snow under strange light tossing in the pasture
like a storming ocean caught
by a flaring beacon.
The deer stands away from me not far
there among bare black apple trees
a presence I no longer see.
We are proud to be afraid
proud to share
the silent magnetic storm that destroys the stars
and flickers around our heads
like the saints’ cold spiritual agonies
of old.
I remember but without the sense other light-storms
cold memories discursive and philosophical
in my mind’s burden
and the deer remembers nothing.
We move our feet crunching bitter snow while the storm
crashes like god-wars down the east
we shake the sparks from our eyes
we quiver inside our shocked fur
we search for each other
in the apple thicket—
a glimpse, an acknowledgment
it is enough and never enough—
we toss our heads and say good night
moving away on bitter bitter snow.

There is no way you can use samsara to negotiate your way into nirvana.
– Reggie Ray

With the sacred removed from life, we tend to feel lost, alone, and painfully empty. When we embrace the sacred, we are reborn, moment to moment…
– Marc David

When the starry sky, a vista of open seas or a stained glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things that I see, hear, or think. The ‘sublime’ object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.
– Julia Kristeva

I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
– Ernest Hemingway

The four rules of writing… 1. Write to discover. 2. There is no greater discovery than love. 3. All love comes from the Creator. 4. Write what you will.
– Ted Dekker

But to be a poet — that is, to aspire to the grace of pain — however obscurely, means not to lie. Let us, therefore, then also validate that other reality, the blacker one of primordial poetry. Let us be where water flows and a tree grows, where there’s no conflict, where snakes make us dream and touch the deeper layers of integration. We must be intimate with ourselves, we must uncover the earth in us, the icy wall of eternal ecstasy, where stones live out their colours like washed-up petrified breaths of whales.
– Breyten Breytenbach

Reincarnation
Ellen Bass
Who would believe in reincarnation
if she thought she would return as
an oyster? Eagles and wolves
are popular. Even domesticated cats
have their appeal. It’s not terribly distressing
to imagine being Missy, nibbling
kibble and lounging on the windowsill.
But I doubt the toothsome oyster has ever
been the totem of any shaman
fanning the Motherpeace Tarot
or smudging with sage.
Yet perhaps we could do worse
than aspire to be a plump bivalve. Humbly,
the oyster persists in filtering
seawater and fashioning the daily
irritations into lustre.
Dash a dot of Tabasco, pair it
with a dry Martini, not only
will this tender button inspire
an erotic fire in tuxedoed men
and women whose shoulders gleam
in candlelight, this hermit praying
in its rocky cave, this anchorite of iron,
calcium, and protein, is practically
a molluskan saint. Revered and sacrificed,
body and salty liquor of the soul,
the oyster is devoured, surrendering
all—again and again—for love.

Field Theology

As a palm tree knows its role to play
and doesn’t wait for the pine to assign it,
as a seabird plots its lonely way,
whether or not the wind’s behind it,

as a songbird follows no other’s lead
in the elegant nonchalance of its singing,
and the fruit that grows on the mango doesn’t
worry what the plum or the orange is bringing,

just as such freedom fighters all
have taught for the countless ungoverned seasons
to follow the lead of a spirit call
or an inexplicable heartfelt reason,

so it’s really as clear as a quiet sea
that the mystery only comes near to those
who’re as free as the dolphins who spin as they leap
and as wild as the flash of hummingbird’s throat.\
– George Gorman

He who does not crave that roofless place ‘eternity’ should stay at home. Such a person is perfectly worthy, and useful, and even beautiful, but is not an artist.
– Mary Oliver

What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring of into space like when you were a kid?
– Anne Lamott

There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.
– Shams Tabrizi

…Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.
Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.
– Max Ehrmann

If you do not like what your life is? take a look at what you believe about reality. this is where change begins. Believe in a life you love and it will begin to flow into you.
– Dustin Eliah

There are nights when the wolves are silent
and only the moon howls.
– George Carlin

I take full responsibility living without god(s), karma or cosmic justice.
I simply go on trying to be moral, loving, and ethical anyway.
– Andrew Kent Hagel

There were formerly horizons within which people lived and thought and mythologized. There are now no more horizons. And with the dissolution of horizons we have experienced and are experiencing collisions, terrific collisions, not only of peoples but also of their mythologies. It is as when dividing panels are withdrawn from between chambers of very hot and very cold airs: there is a rush of these forces together. And so we are right now in an extremely perilous age of thunder, lightning, and hurricanes all around. I think it is improper to become hysterical about it, projecting hatred and blame. It is an inevitable, altogether natural thing that when energies that have never met before come into collision—each bearing its own pride—there should be turbulence. That is just what we are experiencing; and we are riding it: riding it to a new age, a new birth, a totally new condition of mankind—to which no one anywhere alive today can say that he has the key, the answer, the prophecy, to its dawn. Nor is there anyone to condemn here (”Judge not, that you may not be judged!”). What is occurring is completely natural, as are its pains, confusions, and mistakes.
– Joseph Campbell

Don’t let the word ‘mystic’ scare you. It… means one who’s moved from belief systems or belonging systems to actual inner experience.
– Richard Rohr

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.
– Thomas Jefferson

We are going to have to move through this together with art and storytelling and protest and organization and education and inspiration and radicalization and raising our voices louder and listening better and talking deeply to our daughters and sons and asking questions to each other and ourselves about how we got to this place collectively and making love and praying for every child and waging peace and building community and making soup and loving ourselves and each other even more tenderly.
– Tanya Taylor Rubinstein

The best ideas are the honest ones.
Ones born out of personal experience.
Ones that originated to help a few
and ended up helping many.
– Simon Sinek

Is it then so surprising that a change of place should contribute so much to making us forget what we don’t like to think of as real, as though it were a dream?
– Karl Phillip Moritz

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.
– Herman Melville

The Supple Deer
by Jane Hirshfield
The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.
Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.
No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.
I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.
Not of the deer:
To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.
– James Baldwin, The Creative Process

We scramble the first half of our lives to assemble a self; and, in the second half, if we are wise, to dismantle it.
– Yahia Lababidi

the world, unbearably bright,
had leaped on me. I carried mountains.
Though there was much I knew, though
kind people turned away,
I walked there ashamed—
into that still picture
to bring my fear and pain.
By dawn I felt all right:
my hair was covered with dew;
the light was bearable; the air
came still and cool.
And God had come back there
to carry the world again.
– William Stafford, A Walk in the Country

Sometimes I believe God could be
the eye of a horse that holds
a darkened lake, some boat of light
upon wind swept grain. And here
among the opened white scroll
of clouds trapped inside a water trough
lies a baptism without some doctrine.
– Greg Sellers

We have entered each other’s atmosphere
In isolation, the way a bee knows
The deep shadows in the folds of a flower
But doesn’t know what a bouquet is.
– Rowan Ricardo Phillips

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen? / What old December’s bareness every where!
– William Shakespeare

And see, see how much / Has come from that first sonnet after our loving began.
– Hayden Carruth

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to create your own world whenever you want.
– Woody Allen

The world is not real to me until it has been pushed through the mesh of language.
– John Banville

I know that I can’t get along without writing.
– Jorge Luis Borges

If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that…
– Alan Watts

After the Squall
by Elise Paschen
In need of air, she unhinged every
window, revolving ones downstairs,
upstairs skylights, mid-floor French doors,
swept into the house the salt-brine,
the cricket chirp, the osprey whistle,
the sea-current, sound of the Sound,
but had not noticed the basement
bedroom window shielded by blinds,
screen-less. Later that night when they
returned home, lights illuminating
the downstairs hall, insects inhabited
the ground floor rooms. She carried handfuls
of creatures across a River Styx—
the katydids perched on lampshades,
beach tiger beetles shuttling across
floorboards, nursery web spiders splotching
the ceiling—trying to put back
the wild fury she had released.

Six O’Clock in Princes Street
In twos and threes, they have not far to roam,
Crowds that thread eastward, gay of eyes;
Those seek no further than their quiet home,
Wives, walking westward, slow and wise.

Neither should I go fooling over clouds,
Following gleams unsafe, untrue,
And tiring after beauty through star-crowds,
Dared I go side by side with you;

Or be you in the gutter where you stand,
Pale rain-flawed phantom of the place,
With news of all the nations in your hand,
And all their sorrows in your face.
– Wilfred Owen

‘Whilst we keep our eyes not on the things seen, but on the things unseen, for the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.’

There is nothing to fear nor ever has been. Identification associated with our name, our story, is where fear of loss arises, attachment to the materialised, the dense, that we associate with ‘I’. The opposite of unfolding the intellect – remaining in a space of ignorance – is also termed ‘dense’. Unpacking the inner eye gives way to freedom from the solid state of remaining solely within materialisation-in-form. Entrapment in density and its relationship with linear time are two room mates bound together in illusionary non-primary reality. Seeking a place of balance between both spheres – the et(h)ernal and the ephemeral – a foot in both worlds, soul extending out into all timelines and et(h)ernities, body placed in materialised setting of family, work, cultural overlay. Respect time whilst moving through it, focussing on the maturation of the soul which is carried forward whilst all else falls away, in spiritualising its individual evolutionary process, of cleansing the inner eye, of purifying spirit, recognising that the personal reflects outward into all spheres in waves reaching outer galaxies altering cosmic consciousness. So here is breath, generating, the inward and outward, divine in essence, life, existence, condensed in exhalation inhalation. We are Nature. We are the life-cycle in revolutionary movement. We are this mortal flesh and blood that waxes and wanes throughout each incarnatory cyclical spin. But ultimately, we are immortal Light, folding and unfolding, into the Eternal Beauty that is inextinguishable, divine substance of cosmic nature, marking and imprinting the Akasha with each footstep, each breath, each lifetime, each soul journey flying into forever, creators and architects of seven principles, propagators, illuminators, mirror images in microcosm of the ineffable, the silence, the everything, the Ain-Soph, (from Ayin meaning ‘nothing’). Waste not a moment in regarding the building of what endures, and let that which folds into cycles of life and death, dominated by time, move with ease through you, watching over with love and respect for the transitory gift, whilst keeping the eye bright and focussed ahead on the pearl, timeless and everlasting.
– Eloise Swinbrook

There are truths set within the soul that can be a medicine and an antidote against the rampant falsehoods and manipulations increasingly being used to create fear and havoc and gain power. It is not enough to simply decry the fake news and false facts being used to justify the worst of our instincts and feelings. This is the time to make acts of truth wherever the environment is threatened, wherever tyranny tries to rule, wherever power tries to dominate over love.
– Michael Meade

We can, and will, explore all avenues,
from the intricacies of atoms and genes
to the amplitudes of outer space,
but we can no longer naively claim
powers once the property of the “gods”
without also taking on their burdens.
– James Hollis, Tracking the Gods

THE PERFECT LIFE
I have a perfect life. It isn’t much,
But it’s enough for me. It keeps me alive
And happy in a vague way: no disappointments
On the near horizon, no pangs of doubt;
Looking forward in anticipation, looking back
In satisfaction at the conclusion of each day.
I heed the promptings of my inner voice,
And what I hear is comforting, full of reassurance
For my own powers and innate superiority – the fake
Security of someone in the grip of a delusion,
In denial, climbing ever taller towers
Like a tiny tyrant looking on his little kingdom
With a secret smile, while all the while

Time lies in wait. And what feels ample now
Turns colorless and cold, and what seems beautiful
And strong becomes an object of indifference
Reaching out to no one, as later middle age
Turns old, and the strength is gone.
Right now the moments yield to me sweet
Feelings of contentment, but the human
Dies, and what I take for granted bears a name
To be forgotten soon, as the things I know
Turn into unfamiliar faces
In a strange room, leaving merely
A blank space, like a hole left in the wake
Of a perfect life, which closes over.
 – John Koethe

question and answer
beginning and end
post and comment
fits and starts

these all dissolve
beautifully into one
(a one with no parts)
when we let go
of our heads
and enter our hearts

– Benjamin Dean

one must be
in the moment
for life to
ever come true

touch the ground
and be grounded
find comfort here

living, being,
breathing, now
this is where
it will all happen

– Benjamin Dean

For some people, what they are is not finished at the skin,
but continues with the reach of the senses out into the land.

For such people, the home country is really two countries: the country itself, and “the country of the mind,” which is the country itself as identified to communal memory by cultural and historical association. It is this invisible landscape.

that makes what is merely empty space to one person a place to another…

Occasionally one sees something fleeting in the land,
a moment when line, color, and movement intensify and
something sacred is revealed,
leading one to believe that there is another realm of reality
corresponding to the physical one but different…

the land is inexplicably coherent,
it is transcendent in its meaning,
and it has the power to elevate a consideration of human life.

– Wendell Berry

It’s not out of our control. I still believe in love, I still believe in peace, I still believe in positive thinking. People have the power. While there’s life there’s hope.
– John Lennon

[…] almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of ‘psst’ that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.
– David Foster Wallace

I don’t theorize much, except in the most general sort of way because I have very little patience with poetic theories. What I tell my students comes largely from my own experience as a poet. I’ll say, for example, that a poem, like any other form of art, establishes its own laws and fails or succeeds in direct proportion to the poet’s ability to carry them out. And I’ll emphasize the point that there’s always material for poetry, not lack of it, because there’s poetry everywhere and in everything, waiting like the angel in the block of marble to be released.
– Robert Hayden

Beneath my eyes opens—a book; I see to the bottom; the heart—I see to the depths. I know what loves are trembling into fire; how jealousy shoots its green flashes hither and thither; how intricately love crosses love; love makes knots; love brutally tears them apart. I have been knotted; I have been torn apart.
– Virginia Woolf

Witchcraft has not a Pedigree
‘Tis early as our Breath…
– Emily Dickinson

I would tell you about the spring if I thought it might persuade you even now to return, but every bud and bird would only afflict you and make you sad where you are, so not one word of the robins, and not one word of the bloom, lest it make the city darker…
– Emily Dickinson

I hate solitude, but I am afraid of intimacy. The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction
– Iris Murdoch

Now I take the joy I find in the land and put that to work too. My activism is different: it has grace and humor and a lot less bitterness and self-denial. And it comes from unexpected places. It comes from listening. Hard. I serve my community of humans, ancestors and place when and where I can. Before, I would always have campaigned – but now the difference is that I try to still my mind’s chatter and listen to what the land tells me.
– Nina George

Buddhism is anarchism, after all, for anarchism is love,
trust, selflessness and all those good Buddhist virtues
including a total lack of imposition on another.
– Robert Aitken Roshi

I must change my life so that I can live it, not wait for it.
– Susan Sontag

Let us intoxicate ourselves with ink, since we lack the nectar of the gods.
– Flaubert

In a war situation or where violence and injustice are prevalent, poetry is called upon to be something more than a thing of beauty.
– Seamus Heaney

I see what I want of Love… I see horses making the meadow dance, fifty guitars sighing, and a swarm of bees suckling the wild berries, and I close my eyes until I see our shadow behind this dispossessed place… I see what I want of people: their desire to long for anything, their lateness in getting to work and their hurry to return to their folk… and their need to say: Good Morning…
– Mahmoud Darwish

The Dark Side is not stronger. It is, as Yoda taught us, ‘Quicker, easier, more seductive.’ I still believe that love will have the victory. Let us make sure that our means, our way, our method, is as refined as the beloved community goal we espouse.
– Omid Safi

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
– Paulo Coelho

One who recites but a few teachings / Yet lives according to the Dharma / Abandoning passion, ill will, and delusion / Aware and with mind well freed / Not clinging in this life or the next / Attains the benefits of the contemplative life.
– Dhammapada

Dichotomies

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow.

“He abused me, attacked me,
Defeated me, robbed me!”
For those carrying on like this,
Hatred does not end.

“She abused me, attacked me,
Defeated me, robbed me!”
For those not carrying on like this,
Hatred ends.

Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.

Many do not realize that
We here must die.
For those who realize this,
Quarrels end.

Whoever lives
Focused on the pleasant,
Senses unguarded,
Immoderate with food,
Lazy and sluggish,
Will be overpowered by Mara,
As a weak tree is bent in the wind.

Whoever lives
Focused on the unpleasant,
Senses guarded,
Moderate with food,
Faithful and diligent,
Will not be overpowered by Mara,
As a stone mountain is unmoved by the wind.

Whoever is defiled
And devoid of self-control and truth,
Yet wears the saffron robe,
Is unworthy of the saffron robe.

Whoever has purged the defilements,
Is self-controlled, truthful,
And well established in virtue,
Is worthy of the saffron robe.

Those who consider the inessential to be essential
And see the essential as inessential
Don’t reach the essential,
Living in the field of wrong intention.

Those who know the essential to be essential
And the inessential as inessential
Reach the essential,
Living in the field of right intention.

As rain penetrates
An ill-thatched house,
So lust penetrates
An uncultivated mind.

As rain does not penetrate
A well-thatched house,
So lust does not penetrate
A well-cultivated mind.

One who does evil grieves in this life,
Grieves in the next,
Grieves in both worlds.
Seeing one’s own defiled acts brings grief and affliction.

One who makes merit rejoices in this life,
Rejoices in the next,
Rejoices in both worlds.
Seeing one’s own pure acts brings joy and delight.

One who does evil is tormented in this life,
Tormented in the next,
Is tormented in both worlds.
Here he is tormented, knowing, “I have done evil.”
Reborn in realms of woe, he is tormented all the more.

One who makes merit is delighted in this life,
Delighted in the next,
Is delighted in both worlds.
Here she is delighted, knowing, “I have made merit.”
Reborn in realms of bliss, she delights all the more.

One who recites many teachings
But, being negligent, doesn’t act accordingly,
Like a cowherd counting others’ cows,
Does not attain the benefits of the contemplative life.

One who recites but a few teachings
Yet lives according to the Dharma,
Abandoning passion, ill will, and delusion,
Aware and with mind well freed,
Not clinging in this life or the next,
Attains the benefits of the contemplative life.

Vigilance

Vigilance is the path to the Deathless;
Negligence the path to death.
The vigilant do not die;
The negligent are as if already dead.

Knowing this distinction,
Vigilant sages rejoice in vigilance,
Delighting
In the field of the noble ones.

Absorbed in meditation, persevering,
Always steadfast,
The wise touch Nirvana,
The ultimate rest from toil.

Glory grows for a person who is
Energetic and mindful,
Pure and considerate in action,
Restrained and vigilant,
And who lives the Dharma.

Through effort, vigilance,
Restraint, and self-control,
The wise person can become an island
No flood will overwhelm.

Unwise, foolish people
Give themselves over to negligence.
The wise
Protect vigilance as the greatest treasure.

Don’t give yourself to negligence,
Don’t devote yourself to sensual pleasure.
Vigilant and absorbed in meditation,
One attains abundant happiness.

Driving away negligence with vigilance,
Ascending the tower of insight and free of sorrow,
A sage observes the sorrowing masses
As someone standing on a mountain observes
Fools on the ground below.

Vigilant among the negligent,
Wide awake among the sleeping,
The wise one advances
Like a swift horse leaving a weak one behind.

With vigilance, Indra became the greatest of the gods.
The gods praise vigilance,
Forever rejecting negligence.

The monastic who delights in vigilance
And fears negligence
Advances like a fire,
Burning fetters subtle and gross.

The monastic who delights in vigilance
And fears negligence
Is incapable of backsliding
And is quite close to Nirvana.

The Mind

The restless, agitated mind,
Hard to protect, hard to control,
The sage makes straight,
As a fletcher the shaft of an arrow.

Like a fish out of water,
Thrown on dry ground,
This mind thrashes about,
Trying to escape Mara’s command.

The mind, hard to control,
Flighty—alighting where it wishes—
One does well to tame.
The disciplined mind brings happiness.

The mind, hard to see,
Subtle—alighting where it wishes—
The sage protects.
The watched mind brings happiness.

Far-ranging, solitary,
Incorporeal and hidden
Is the mind.
Those who restrain it
Will be freed from Mara’s bonds.

For those who are unsteady of mind,
Who do not know true Dharma,
And whose serenity wavers,
Wisdom does not mature.

For one who is awake,
Whose mind isn’t overflowing,
Whose heart isn’t afflicted
And who has abandoned both merit and demerit,
Fear does not exist.

Knowing this body to be like a clay pot,
Establishing this mind like a fortress,
One should battle Mara with the sword of insight,
Protecting what has been won,
Clinging to nothing.

All too soon this body
Will lie on the ground,
Cast aside, deprived of consciousness,
Like a useless scrap of wood.

Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy,
Or haters, one to another,
Far worse is the harm
From one’s own wrongly directed mind.

Neither mother nor father,
Nor any other relative can do
One as much good
As one’s own well-directed mind.

Flowers

Who will master this world
And the realms of Yama and the gods?
Who will select a well-taught Dharma teaching,
As a skilled person selects a flower?

One in training will master this world
And the realms of Yama and the gods.
One in training will select
a well-taught Dharma teaching,
As a skilled person selects a flower.

Knowing this body is like foam,
Fully awake to its mirage-like nature,
Cutting off Mara’s flowers,
One goes unseen by the King of Death.

Death sweeps away
The person obsessed
With gathering flowers,
As a great flood sweeps away a sleeping village.

The person obsessed
With gathering flowers,
Insatiable for sense pleasures,
Is under the sway of Death.

As a bee gathers nectar
And moves on without harming
The flower, its color, or its fragrance,
Just so should a sage walk through a village.

Do not consider the faults of others
Or what they have or haven’t done.
Consider rather
What you yourself have or haven’t done.

Like a beautiful flower,
Brightly colored but lacking scent,
So are well-spoken words
Fruitless when not carried out.

Like a beautiful flower,
Brightly colored and with scent,
So are well-spoken words
Fruitful when carried out.

Just as from a heap of flowers
Many garlands can be made,
So, you, with your mortal life,
Should do many skillful things.

The scent of flowers
—sandalwood, jasmine, and rosebay—
Doesn’t go against the wind.
But the scent of a virtuous person
Does travel against the wind;
It spreads in all directions.

The scent of virtue
Is unsurpassed
Even by sandalwood, rosebay,
Water lily, and jasmine.

Slight
Is the scent of rosebay or sandalwood,
But the scent of the virtuous is supreme,
Drifting even to the gods.

Mara does not find the path
Of those endowed with virtue,
Living with vigilance,
and freed by right understanding.

As a sweet-smelling lotus
Pleasing to the heart
May grow in a heap of rubbish
Discarded along the highway,
So a disciple of the Fully Awakened One
Shines with wisdom
Amid the rubbish heap
Of blind, common people.

– Gil Fronsdal, The Dhammapa

You will never get any more out of life than you expect.
– Bruce Lee​

Life is full of strange absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.
– Luigi Pirandello

Love means you breathe in two countries.
– Naomi Shihab Nye​