My Commonplace Book IV

I wish you a kinder sea.
– Emily Dickinson

Oh! It is only a novel… only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.
– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

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 not here on this Earth just for ourselves. The goal of the cosmos is not for 7.5 billion human beings to seek their own private fulfillment, especially not at the expense of the rest of the planet.
Meditation is not supposed to be about “me and my mind.” Yoga is intended for much more than “me and my body” or “me and my chakras.” Good nutrition is not simply about “me and my health.” Religion is not supposed to be concerned with “me and my enlightenment” or “me and my salvation” or “me and my afterlife.”
And we in this convulsing country of ours are DEFINITELY not here to be obsessed with “America First,” as though such a thing were even possible on a continent located on a planet that is spinning through space with trillions of other fellow-creatures.
Rather, our beloved Source wants to experience ecstatic awe, wonder and surprise at the beauty and grandeur of the cosmos through our body, mind, imagination, heart, emotions, soul and spirit. And through our philosophy, theology, poetry, music, art, dance and culture.
Are we up to the task, or will we be up to the task anytime soon?
– Stephen Hatch

To Be of Use
By Marge Pierce

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

What the poet is searching for
is not the fundamental I
but the deep you.
– Antonio Machado

We simmered tea and talked and talked
Coming up with one great line after another.
We hung up a lamp and read old poems.
I only just met you and yet I knew you all my life.
– Hsu Yun (Empty Cloud) (1840 – 1959)
Chinese-born Chan Buddhist master.

The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.
– William Saroyan

She it is that Solomon chose to have instead of light, and above all beauty and health…For all gold in her sight shall be esteemed as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay…And her fruit is more precious than all the riches of this world, and all the things that are desired are not to be compared with her…She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her, and an unfailing light…He who hath found this science, it shall be his rightful food for ever…Such a one is as rich as he that hath a stone from which fire is struck, who can give fire to whom he will as much as he will and when he will without loss to himself.
Be turned to me with all your heart and do not cast me aside because I am black and swarthy, because the sun hath changed my colour and the waters have covered my face…because I stick fast in the mire of the deep and my substance is not disclosed. Wherefore out of the depths have I cried, and from the abyss of the earth with my voice to all you that pass by the way. Attend and see me, if any shall find one like unto me, I will give into his hand the morning star.
– Aurora Consurgens

At the cardiac plexus… there in the center of the breast, we have a new great sun of knowledge and of being… Here I only know the delightful revelation that you are you. The wonder is no longer within me, my own dark, centrifugal exultant self. The wonder is without me. The wonder is outside me… I look with wonder, with tenderness, with joyful yearning towards that which is outside me, beyond me…
– D. H. Lawrence

Whatever it is that poetry asks for, what it needs to survive and to be listened to, I can hear or see none of it without a human pattern, that stain or wear or humor or fear that is not last, that makes things said a hopeful enterprise, a whistling in the seemingly endless dark. Much like the story of the boy walking through the graveyard, who sings because he is afraid, I need a company, even my own voice if there is no one else’s. But how dear to hear another’s! What relief to know that someone is truly there.
– Robert Creeley

A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps- seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken.
– Frank Herbert

When I began this work, someone asked me, why are you doing this? … the answer came right from my solar plexus: I’m doing this work so that when things fall apart, we will not turn on each other…
– Joanna Macy

People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.
– Fr. Richard Rohr

The hungers alone must suffice.
– Anna Kamienska, A Nest of Quiet

It’s almost impossible for people to change alone. We need to join with others who will push us in our thinking and challenge us to do things we didn’t believe ourselves capable of.
– Frances Moore Lappé

Einer Hilfe bedarf der Mensch immer.
(The human being always needs a help.)
– F. W.   J. Schelling

Community not only creates abundance–community is abundance. If we could learn that equation from the world of nature, the human world might be transformed.
– Parker J. Palmer

Every poem needs something holy to hold it.
– Leah Nielsen

When you attune to nature, you bring yourself close to us.
When you attune to the stars, you bring yourself close to us.
When you attune to joy and wonder, you touch the fabric of our realm. When you touch your own sacredness, you touch the bond we share. Think of us when you do these things, and you may find a bridge opening between us.
– Conversation with the Sidhe, David Spangler

L’imagination  .  .  . se lassera plutôt de concevoir que la nature de fournir.
(The imagination runs dry sooner than nature does.)
– Pascal, Pensées


What if we don’t really grow or transform? What if healing isn’t ridding ourselves, changing ourselves, or shifting ourselves? What if our natural process is to simply ‘come out’ more and more as ourselves- as who we have always been?

In my view, the healing problem arises because much of who we are is invisible to us, unconscious. Given that, what is healing? Coming to know our wholeness, our diversity, our deepest nature and having that witnessed, appreciated, and nourished. I call that love.
– David Bedrick

Imagine you are a photon, a packet of light. You are a tiny blip of energy, hurtling through the universe on your own. But you have a twin, another photon to whom you have been intimately connected since the day you were born. No matter what distance separates you, be it the width of a lab bench or the breadth of the universe, you mirror each other. Whatever happens to your twin instantaneously affects you, and vice versa. You are like the mouse siblings in “An American Tail,” wrenched apart by fate but feeling the same feelings and singing the same song beneath the same glowing moon.

This is quantum entanglement. To non-physicists it sounds about as fantastical as singing mice, and indeed, plenty of physicists have problems with the phenomenon. Albert Einstein, whose own research helped give rise to quantum theory, derisively called the concept “spooky action at a distance.” Quantum entanglement seems to break some of the bedrock rules of standard physics: that nothing can travel faster than light, that objects are only influenced by their immediate surroundings. And scientists still can’t explain how the particles are linked. Is it wormholes? An unknown dimension? The power of love?
– Chicago Tribune

A nation in ruins
though nobody sees it yet:
the star-rubble sky

– Clark Strand

The cardinal’s song:
too much red for one body,
so it spills over

– Clark Strand

I came upon this little but mighty poem by Rabindranath Tagore, titled, ‘Leave This’
Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!
Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?
Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!

He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground

and where the path-maker is breaking stones.

He is with them in sun and in shower,

and his garment is covered with dust.

Put off thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!

listen for the sounds the fields make
the tongues the trees are speaking in
the love the leaves are making with the wind
– Anis Mojgani

In appearance it is the same sky, the same
         swaying blue
treetops I noticed
at six months of age, but
these days I get the feeling
I really am seeing them,
lilac-blue treetops,
for the final time;
and have to say their being
there and my own
being perceiving them
seems to me now as identically
and inexpressibly strange
as it did then, I suppose,
in my elderly
infancy—I still can’t talk,
I still can’t
tell anyone.
– Franz Wright, The Next Home

I wanted to stay as I was
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment before
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past—
– Louise Glück

Longing,’ says the poet Robert Hass, ‘because desire is full of endless distances.’ Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.
– Rebecca Solnit

I’ve always thought a voice might be content
to dwell inside the place it finds itself.
A voice could just belong to where it is,
to how the creek along its down-dipped stones
becomes the only song of answering
a voice might want to offer to this world.
A voice could be that faint, could find small things
like buckeye bits that fell away on moss,
or leaf-stems stitched to dust, or acorn shells.
A voice need not become a haunted thing,
intent on rectifying how it’s been
misunderstood or set aside. A voice
might find its way by being led along—
in hummed belief for being here, then gone.
– Jeff Hardin

Spring, among its other ingenuities, has the power of gathering flowers from our lips, of stealing away our words like windblown seeds.
– Lorenzo Carlucci

The writer is not, is not, your friend.
Do not go where he, where she,
                    Is trying to lead you.
The water will shift, the shore remain distant.
– Jeff Hardin

I can’t write you unless I am alone. But as for thinking of you, that I can do all day long, & nobody knows.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

[Aldo] Leopold spoke of having ‘an intense consciousness of land.’ Such consciousness would counter techno-utopianism. In the patches, large and small, of what Arne Naess called free nature, utopia is irrelevant. If you exercise your inborn awareness, you’re in Paradise. And in the places that have been trashed by human purposes, the obvious need is for care and hands-on attention, reclamation and restoration, not sci-fi technology. Land is alive and actual. Cyberspace is notional, no place at all.
– Stephanie Mills

… I wonder
if I will ever find a language
to speak of the things
that haunt me the most.
– Bao Phi

whatever new part of earth you are—am I there?
– Colin Cheney

I guess that’s why I
listen toward the farthest trees as if a prayer
were stirring only I can hear. Perhaps its
single word is mend, a word that all my
other words have felt a kinship with.
Evenings when I sit out back, I think my
thoughts have always been inclining toward
a self whose soul has found a place to be
alone, away from others I don’t trust,
content to watch the falling leaves. Dull
image—perhaps cliché—but I’ll take it
nonetheless. The truth is: here we are
inside these lives we sometimes do not
recognize, these lives we don’t deserve.
So many selves we almost came to be
never came to be. So many words too true
to whisper to ourselves we go on listening
toward. So many bridges never crossed,
others stepped back from. So much I’ll
never understand about the reasons
I survived when others didn’t. Years
ago I found a book, like a gift, fallen
between two shelves. Inside, someone
had penciled, Language isn’t sad but
meaning is. I’ve held those words as
close as any I have known, having felt
a pull toward nothingness, toward lack
of anyone or anything that might repair
my ruined thoughts, and just as often
I have stood in shallow creeks, waiting
on my world to end, assured I have no
place, no name, no face, no words to say
the source of what I’m always reaching
toward. I have followed driftwood,
imagined my own dead self assigned
to stir above the silt. I’ve watched
the motions course along through shadows
soon to reach a bend and carry on unseen.
Still, I have a faith that what is next is what
the story most requires so that the shape
of time allotted, ordained to be, can then
reveal itself. Bend, mend—the echo isn’t
lost on me—and giving in to where I’m
being taken has been the way I’ve come
to know my life, to speak its mysteries.
– Jeff Hardin

A poem from Eleanor Wilner:


It was a pure white cloud that hung there
in the blue, or a jellyfish on a waveless
sea, suspended high above us; we were
the creatures in the weeds below.
It seemed so effortless in its suspense,
perfectly out of time and out of place
like the ghost of moon in the sky
of a brilliant afternoon.
After a while it seemed to grow, and we
inferred that it was moving, drifting down—
though it seemed weightless, motionless,
one of those things that defy
the ususal forces—gravity, and wind
and the almost imperceptible
pressure of the years. But it was coming down.

The blur of its outline slowly cleared:
it was scalloped at the lower edge, like a shell
or a child’s drawing of a flower, detached
and floating, beauty simplified. That’s when
we saw it had a man attached, suspended
from the center of the flower, a kind of human
stamen or a stem. We thought it was
a god, or heavenly seed, sent
to germinate the earth
with a gentler, nobler breed. It might be
someone with sunlit eyes and mind of dawn.
We thought of falling to our knees.

So you can guess
the way we might have felt
when it landed in our field
with the hard thud of solid flesh
and the terrible flutter of the collapsing
lung of silk. He smelled of old sweat, his
uniform was torn, and he was tangled
in the ropes, hopelessly harnessed
to the white mirage that brought him down.
He had a wound in his chest, a red
flower that took its color from his heart.

We buried him that very day, just as he came
to us, in a uniform of soft brown
with an eagle embroidered on the sleeve,
its body made of careful gray stitches,
its eye a knot of gold. The motto
underneath had almost worn away. For days,
watching from our caves, we saw
the huge white shape of silk shifting
in the weeds, like a pale moon
when the wind filled it, stranded,
searching in the aimless way
of unmoored things
for whatever human ballast gave
direction to their endless drift.

Had you but the courage to acknowledge the haunted inner room, turn the key and enter, you would encounter nothing strange or sinister there. You would meet some vital self of yours that you had banished during a time of pain or difficulty. Sometimes, when life squeezes you into lonely crevices, you may have to decide between survival and breaking apart. The banished self from an earlier time of life remains within you waiting to be released and integrated. The soul has its own logic of loyalty and concealment. Ironically, it is usually in the most awkward rooms that the special blessings and healing are locked away.
– John O’Donohue

Every crisis contains with it the seeds for transformation and growth.
– Jodie Gale

The more present we are to everything on our plate, the more we learn to digest and assimilate all the moments and magic and opportunities that life gives us each day. We become “full” on life.
– Marc David

as many tongues
bring chaos
the wings of peace
reach shyly for
the night sky
– Frank Watson

The Sum Of It Squared
To discover the thing you’re brilliant at
you first have to endure discovering all of the things you’re average at
in discovering this
you will discover something about yourself
not all of it will be good
but some of it will be wonderful
I can promise no more than some of it
because there will be a contrast
some of it will be difficult
you will not be prepared for some of it
there will be lessons
both sharp and unforgiving
letter grades
will become the promises of those
upon whom you cannot rely
you will not receive an F
at falling in love
though you yet may fail
at loving the one you fall for
you will not receive an A+ at doubting yourself
though you will doubt yourself greatly
the tests you will come to face
will pit you against needles of terrible consequence
the night sky will not blaze with the light of gold stars for your achievements
you will be awarded nothing for your survival
pass fail will depend on how you view the world
if money is everything to you
but you have only a little
you may come to regard your life as a failure
but wealth comes in different forms
the form it becomes for you
will depend on what you value
if you prize knowledge
but have only a library card
you will be rich in a different way
your treasures will be dug
from pages of thought
chapters of imagination
will open to you like a friend
curiosity will become a trail
you follow deeper into yourself
and the world
your mind is an open hand
ready to grasp whatever proficiency you reach for
you are free to pursue whatever knowledge you wish
if an answer exists
it will be yours to find
important to note
there will not always be answers
there will be times when confusion falls all around you
descending in slow motion like shattered glass
raining wounds into your confidence
you may at times
feel abandoned by your own instincts
the needle of your moral compass
spinning directionless
as the polarities of joy and despair
change their minds about beliefs once held firm
some of your questions
will move you beyond the dimensions
or true or false
you will have multiple choices
every choice you make will lead to the doorstep
of the outcome you desire
there will not be a teachers copy
of the book of life
no secret chapter at the back
indexing solutions to the problems you face
there will be rewards
unexpected and dazzling
in the times most troubling to you
laughter will become a fortune
you pull from your own shadow
like candlelight from a womb of dark anguish
will become a jewel
sparkling against the intolerable might of isolation
a shining reminder
that you need never build walls
to keep trust at bay
some of it will be brilliant
some of it will spill from street lamps at night
as if weeping an incandescence
some of it will pool at your feet into a reservoir of valour meant to rescue you from
the inevitable eclipses of regret
there will be regret
you will hurt others
wether by accident or act of will
your simply being
will cause pain
you will not be able to mend all of the scars you birth
you may not care
but be cognizant
that while the present may never say it to your face
history will not shy to say it behind your back
you are
in the end
accountable for what you create
in composing fear
you will sculpt hate
in forging inspiration
you will author hope
each choice will present you with consequence or reward
from this point on
the most important questions you will be asked
are the questions you ask yourself
your education
begins with deciding what you wish to discover
in discovering this
you will discover something about yourself
not all of it will be good
there will be days of empty
that march through you like soldiers of diffidence
cheering on the surrender of your gallantry
the glory of this pain will exist in the fact that it is temporary
that whatever sorrow is aching to receive you
I promise you no more than some of it
some of it too
will be wonderful.
– Shane Koyczan

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.
– The Diary of Anaïs Nin

The classic statement is from the choral ode on human beings in Sophocles’ Antigone:

There are many strange and wonderful things, but nothing more strangely wonderful than man. He moves across the white-capped ocean seas blasted by winter storms, carving his way under the surging waves engulfing him.
(lines 334– 37; Ian Johnston, trans.)

Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst Das Rettende auch.

“But where danger is, grows / The saving power also.” He could have been thinking of fire. Some lines from Delmore Schwartz take us out:

Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day
Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and rentier,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

– John Durham Peters
The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media

.  .  . whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water.
– Marilynne Robinson, Gilead


Like a fish in water,
I live in music.
(Saint Saëns)

Music comes on with the ignition,
bursts in on my days as I drive
between house and office,
office and meeting,
and like Escher’s fish in the stream
or his birds in the air,
background becomes foreground,
and foreground background,
and my element of papers
turns to rippling staves.

– Meg Bateman, Transparencies

…’Slow’ and ‘down’ are modes of the soul; they are connective modes, ways of keeping connected to oneself and to one’s environment. ‘Slowing downwards’ refers to more than simply moving slowly, it means growing down towards the roots of one’s being. Instead of outward growth and upward climb, life at times must turn inward and downward in order to grow in other ways. There is a shift to the vertical down that re-turns us to root memories, root metaphors, and timeless things that shape our lives from within. Slowing downwards creates opportunities to dwell more deeply in one’s life, for the home we are looking for in this world is within us all along. The lost home that we are seeking is ourselves; it is the story we carry within our soul.
– Michael Meade

You’re afraid of changing.
Change tenderly calls for you to open
the places within that have been guarded
with a warrior’s vigilance for decades.
Change beckons you to come forward and
view the inner landscapes that have been
shrouded in mystery for years.
Change won’t offer you promises or
guarantees. But, as the rest of the world
moves along, the pages turn and others go
forth all around, change whispers,
I am still here and I have not forgotten you.
It is not too late to embrace change.
– Susan Frybort, Open Passages

No matter how many enemies that one meets, no matter what they do, no matter who they are, not one of them exists without being dependent upon the internal enemy. For as long as there is grasping at ‘self’, there will always be ‘other’. The moment that the mind is rid of this, all enemies, both internal and external, will disappear.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The humanism bypass. I did it for years. I saw glimpses of someone’s potential, their beautiful soul, their loving heart, and told myself that this was who they… truly were, ignoring all the rest. But the rest was what destroyed. The rest is where they lived most of the time. The rest was no illusion- it was them, too. This self-destructive pattern was birthed in two places: (1) my deep desire to see the best in my difficult parents. Not for them, but for me. I needed to believe that there was something kind and caring living inside of them; (2) a misplaced projection from my own self-concept work. I held the belief in my own potential, as a way of overcoming the shame I carried. But I made the mistake of assuming that everyone else was just as eager to find their light. Of course we all have glowing potential. At the core, we are all magnificent beings with profound capacities. But how many of us fully actualize it? At this stage of human development, not so many. The trick is to hold the space for two things at once- a deep belief in everyone’s possibilities, and a deep regard for your own well-being. It’s okay to pray for everyone’s liberation without joining them in prison. Pray from outside the prison walls, while taking exquisite care of yourself. It’s okay- you can’t do the work for them anyway. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries… don’t leave home without them.
– Jeff Brown

The peace of Nature gets into your heart ‘ere you are aware, without effort.
– John Muir

Today: Blessing

by Irene Blair Honeycutt

May time grant you the lasting memory of the summer night
on Jonas Ridge when we were walking the dogs, late—

the white rail fence, our guide.

When we turned back toward the cabin, darkness pressed
against our faces

and a host of fireflies flashed in the mist
settling on the fields,

blinking green from another realm,
lighting the divide between road and weeds.

The dogs looked up.
Frenzied katydids took a rest.

Following the tiny globes, we felt our way
to the gravel hill that sloped

toward the yellow glow
of lamplight from the cabin window.

…We are a small earth. It’s no
simple thing. Eventually
we will be dust together; can be used to make a house, to stop
a flood or grow food
for those who will never remember who we were, or know
that we loved fiercely.
Laughter and sadness eventually become the same song turning us
toward the nearest star —
a star constructed of eternity and elements of dust barely visible
in the twilight as you travel
east. I run with the blue horses of electricity who surround
the heart
and imagine a promise made when no promise was possible.
– Joy Harjo

Our modern society creates so many young people without roots. They are uprooted from their families and their society; they wander around, not quite human beings, because they do not have roots.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally…
– Louisa May Alcott

One would never think of removing a single dead limb or log from these woods, such is the sense of fitness and completeness. In contemplating some lovely grove, I have wondered how if this dead stump or white mast were removed, would it be bettered. But I never could see room for even such paltry improvement. See the fineness of finish, how each object catches the light. And so, when we walk the aisle-like defiles of the woods over ridges, through meadows, and still, cool glens, we find each in perfect beauty, as if God had everywhere done His best in putting it in order that very day.
– John Muir

Around us, life bursts forth with miracles—a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere…
– Thich Nhat Hanh

…As if your place in the world mattered
and the world could
neither speak nor hear the fullness of
its own bitter and beautiful cry
without the deep well
of your body resonating in the echo.
Knowing that it takes only
that one, terrible
word to make the circle complete,
revelation must be terrible
knowing you can
never hide your voice again.
– David Whyte

Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to light, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us in the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death a…nd feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist’s arm chair and confuse his ‘Rinse the mouth—rinse the mouth’ with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us—when we think of this and infinitely more, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love, battle, and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.
– Virginia Woolf

– Claudia Rankine, 2009
We heard health care and we thought public option
we thought reaching across the street across the lines
across the aisle was the manifestation of not a red state
not a blue state but these united states we thought
we could be sure of ourselves in this one way sure
of our human element our basic decency
and if justice was how love showed itself in public then love
was defined by access to care when someone anyone
thought that cough that burned the chest
was probably nothing but who knew that fever
after three days that inability to breathe to sleep
to wake in justice in love we thought
we were ready to be just as good to be better
and despite all the ways we exist alone no one
would be on their own we were ready to take a stab
at a kind of human kind of union we were ready to check-up
to look after in this one way we were ready
to care for each other we were ready to see
our range of possibilities as a precious commodity
to know every other as another to live in the width
of our being and we weren’t ignorant or stupid or naïve
or idealists or socialists or communists or Canadians
we understood the private options would still keep us
alive longer we understood the private options
would treat the disease not the symptoms
the private options meant access to specialists
to privacy to elective procedures to a team of doctors
to radiology imaging to brand-name drugs we understood
the impossibility of real equality but this single shift
toward a national community we thought
despite being founded on genocide and sustained by slavery
in God’s country we thought we were ready
to see sanity inside the humanity we thought
the improbability of the face on capitol hill meant possibility.

At North Farm
John Ashbery
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,…

Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.

But will he know where to find you,

Recognize you when he sees you,

Give you the thing he has for you?
Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?

what really matters, whether or not we adopt a particular [belief system], is to keep alive the questions that life presents to us from moment to moment—that the very source of spirituality does not lay in having the right answers, but in being able to keep alive the most genuine questions.
– Stephen Batchelor recorded in ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’

Nietzsche described [the paradox] when he said we are both the abyss and the tightrope across the abyss. We are open emptiness, to be filled by courage and by c…hoice, and we are the fragile thread by which to traverse the abysmal terrors. – James Hollis, Tracking the Gods

from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
Man is an abyss and a tightrope stretched between the the abyss.
A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.
I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers.

and in the face of the abuse and the treachery of many who utter some of the most beautiful words in the language, i still choose to retain the word god. i long to experience that which those who have uttered this word, and still do, have seen, or heard, or felt, or touched, or did, that only this one splendid word, “god”, could possibly describe. they knew that any other word will be in vain. this i know: we experience the truth of the word in the embrace of the neighbor. this we must do: reclaim the word god and protect it and defend it. how do we protect and defend the word god? the only way that god herself can be revealed: with our deeds of compassion.
– hune margulies

The soul can become a reality again only when each of us has the courage to take it as the first reality in our own lives, to stand for it and not just “believe” in it.
– James Hillman

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 holding 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

You wake wanting the dream
you left behind in sleep,
water washing through everything,
clearing away sediment
of years, uncovering the lost
and forgotten. You hear the sun
breaking on cold grass,
on eaves, on stone steps
outside. You see light
igniting sparks of dust
in the air. You feel for the first
time in years the world
electrified with morning.

You know something has changed
in the night, something you thought
gone from the world has come back:
shooting stars in the pasture,
sleeping beneath a field
of daisies, wisteria climbing
over fences, houses, trees.

This is a place that smells
like childhood and old age.
It is a limb you swung from,
a field you go back to.
It is a part of whatever you do.
 – Scott Owens

The happiest day I ever had was any day when I woke in the morning when I was a boy and I did not have to go to school or to work. In the morning I was always hungry when I woke and I could smell the dew in the grass and hear the wind in the high branches of the hemlock trees, if there was a wind, and if there was no wind I could hear the quietness of the forest and the calmness of the lake and I would listen for the first noises of morning. Sometimes the first noise would be a kingfisher flying over the water that was so calm it mirrored his reflection and he made a clattering cry as he flew. Sometimes it would be a squirrel chittering in one of the trees outside the house, his tail jerking each time he made a noise. Often it would be the plover calling on the hillside. But whenever I woke and heard the first morning noises and felt hungry and knew I would not have to go to school nor have to work, I was happier than I have ever been.
– Ernest Hemingway

Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.
Free of the suffocating turbulence the traveler
sinks toward the green zone of morning.
Things flare up. From the viewpoint of the quivering lark
he is aware of the huge root systems of the trees,
their swaying underground lamps. But above ground
there’s greenery – a tropical flood of it – with
lifted arms, listening
to the beat of an invisible pump. And he
sinks toward summer, is lowered
in it’s dazzling crater, down
through shafts of green damp ages
trembling under the sun’s turbine. Then it’s checked,
this straight-down journey through the moment, and the wings spread
to the osprey’s repose above rushing waters.
The bronze-age trumpet’s
outlawed note
hovers above the bottomless depths.

In day’s first hours consciousness can grasp the world
as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.
The traveler is standing under a tree. After
the crash through death’s turbulence, shall
a great light unfold above his head?
– Tomas Tranströmer

Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country – so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream.
– Louise Glück

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

The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. We have it within our means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
– Norman Cousins

I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.
– Cormac McCarthy

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.
– Hafiz

I never tell [students] to try to perfect something because the word ‘perfect,’ like the word ‘gift,’ is a very tricky word, and we don’t really know what those words mean. Shakespeare’s not perfect, and James Joyce is not perfect. So the idea is to have energy and momentum and originality, and a verve and a voice that’s original that people are interested in. Doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, nobody wants perfection. I think it was Sylvia Plath [who said] perfection has no children.
– Joyce Carol Oates

Islander I brought you here to speak a language you have little care for, to play the pipes, perhaps, or at least to sing, but it is rock you listened to back and forth from school. As you leave I see you belong here in ways I hadn’t thought of: your loyalty to your friends, your inability to sneer or boast, and now your tears, and I am proud.
– Meg Bateman, Transparencies

Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself.
* …
Untilled soil, however fertile it may be, will bear thistles and thorns; and so it is with man’s mind.
It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves.
More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.
The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.
– St Teresa of Avila

The Buddha’s nirvana is not a drive toward death or disintegration as Freud naively assumed; it is an ability to accept death and disintegration without falling apart; without twisting, distorting, or tormenting the mind in response.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

What is the relation of [contemplation] to action? Simply this. He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas. There is nothing more tragic in the modern world than the misuse of power and action.

Music, feelings of happiness, mythology, faces worn by time, certain twilights and certain places, want to tell us something, or they told us something that we should not have missed, or they are about to tell us something; this imminence of a revelation that is not produced is, perhaps, ‘the aesthetic event’. …
– Jorge Luis Borges​

As a single footstep will not make a Path on the Earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
– Henry David Thoreau

Sunday Morning Early
by David Romtvedt

My daughter and I paddle red kayaks
across the lake. Pulling hard,…
we slip through the water.
Far from either shore,
my daughter is a young woman
and suddenly everything is a metaphor
for how short a time we are granted:

the red boats on the blue black water,
the russet and gold of late summer’s grasses,
the empty sky. We stop and listen to the stillness.
I say, “It’s Sunday, and here we are
in the church of the out of doors,”
then wish I’d kept quiet. That’s the trick in life—
learning to leave well enough alone.
Our boats drift to where the chirring
of grasshoppers reaches us from the rocky hills.
A clap of thunder. I want to say something truer
than I love you. I want my daughter to know that,
through her, I live a life that was closed to me.
I paddle up, lean out, and touch her hand.
I start to speak then stop.​

Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions–predigested books and ideas…marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short…and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live t…hrough others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”…The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
– Adrienne Rich​

If you want to know about reincarnation, start by trying to rebirth yourself …

It only takes a moment for metabolism to rearrange itself in response to the thoughts and feelings that inhabit our inner world.​
– Marc David

– Claudia Rankine, 2009

We heard health care and we thought public option
we thought reaching across the street across the lines…
across the aisle was the manifestation of not a red state
not a blue state but these united states we thought
we could be sure of ourselves in this one way sure
of our human element our basic decency
and if justice was how love showed itself in public then love
was defined by access to care when someone anyone
thought that cough that burned the chest
was probably nothing but who knew that fever
after three days that inability to breathe to sleep
to wake in justice in love we thought
we were ready to be just as good to be better
and despite all the ways we exist alone no one
would be on their own we were ready to take a stab
at a kind of human kind of union we were ready to check-up
to look after in this one way we were ready
to care for each other we were ready to see
our range of possibilities as a precious commodity
to know every other as another to live in the width
of our being and we weren’t ignorant or stupid or naïve
or idealists or socialists or communists or Canadians
we understood the private options would still keep us
alive longer we understood the private options
would treat the disease not the symptoms
the private options meant access to specialists
to privacy to elective procedures to a team of doctors
to radiology imaging to brand-name drugs we understood
the impossibility of real equality but this single shift
toward a national community we thought
despite being founded on genocide and sustained by slavery
in God’s country we thought we were ready
to see sanity inside the humanity we thought
the improbability of the face on capitol hill meant possibility.​


Oh America
have you buried your true longing
beside Native ancestors…
and broken black slave bodies?

Oh America
has your thirst for the mall
blinded you
to the hunger for soul?

Oh America
has positivity and light
so enchanted you
that you no longer see the treasures below
in the shadow of your exceptionalism?

Oh America
let go of your ambitions today
sit beside the gravestone of your dreams
and grieve.
– David Bedrick

Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.’
– Arthur Burt​

Respect builds trust, healthy empathy, and moral character; it lends dignity to our human relationships and our relationship with our earth.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

If you have made all I have given you your own so that no trace of me is left in them, then you have understood. And I can be silent again, knowing I have done my part.
– from a letter to Lizelle Reymond, author of “To Live Within,” from her teacher Sri Anirvan.​

Please be careful in the future to pay attention. Karma can be very subtle and tricky. We might think that something is no big deal, but it may turn out to have… serious consequences. So pay good attention to the karmic process. This is what every practitioner needs to pay attention to — even those with the highest realization.
– Dudjom Rinpoche​

The Eros of Thought
Your mind is the double mirror of the outer world and of your inner world. It is always actively making pictures of things. If you lost your mind, you would lose your world as well. Your mind is so precious and vulnerable precisely because it holds your world. Thoughts are the furniture of the mind. They are the echoes and pictures that hold your world together. This is the fascinating adventure of perception. When you become aware of your thoughts and your particular style of thinking, you begin to see why your world is shaped the way it is. It is an exciting and frightening moment to realize your responsibility for your own thoughts. Then you know that you also have the freedom to think differently. Rather than having to travel always along a predetermined track of thought, you now begin to realize the excitement of thinking in new directions and in different rhythms. You see that thinking has something eternal in it. In the Western tradition, thought has been understood as the place within the human person where we are most intimately connected with divinity. Thought is the place of revelation. The dance of thoughts is endless. In his essay on John Donne, T. S. Eliot suggests that a thought to him was an experience as immediate as the scent of a flower.

Thought is a profound form of longing. Much of the thought that cripples us is dried out, dead thought. There is no warmth of longing alive in it. Thought that loses touch with feeling is lethal. This separation is the fracture from which fascism and holocaust emerge. Knowledge is intimacy. This is most evident in the activity of friendship. When the longing awakens between you and a stranger, you want to know that person—to come close. Closeness without knowing can be either a fascination and reverence for mystery or the prostitution of longing. Spiritual longing is what first draws you close to a friend. This desire refines and deepens itself in coming to know him or her. Friendship is one of the most beautiful places in which longing reaches initial fulfillment and is then further deepened, refined, and transfigured. You can also see the longing of thought in the fascination of ideas. When you find yourself in a cul-de-sac in your life and you feel lost and trapped, a new insight or awareness can come to you, enabling you to free yourself.
– John O’Donohue, Echoes of Eternity

Questions are the piety of thought.
– Heidegger​

be a scar. do not be ashamed of living through something.
– Nayyirah Waheed

Be a brilliant light,
Even in the darkest of night.

Dazzle like a firefly,
Or sprinkle fairy dust……
Either way, there will be light to trust.

Shine on the earth all around,
And always make a joyful sound.

Believe in peace and love,
So The Now will be like Heaven above.

Honor and trust beautiful life flow,
To make the path forward glow.

Forget not lessons from the past,
And cherish every day until the last.

– Sarah Melby ​

The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. We have it within our means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
– Norman Cousins

​Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them.
-Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer.
-Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need.
-Take only that which is given.
-Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm.
-Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken.
-Give thanks for what you have been given.
-Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken.
-Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

The Sanctimonious Poets

I’m sick of you hypocrites babbling about gods!
Rationality is what you have, you don’t believe
In Helios, nor the sea being, nor the thunder being;
And the earth is a corpse, so why thank her?

As for you gods, be calm! You are decorations in their poems,
Even though the energy has drained out of you names.
And, Mother of Nature, if a word with immense
energy is needed, people remember yours.

– Friedrich Holderlin
translated by Robert Bly

The point of slowing downwards is stopping in time to catch one’s own rhythm in order to change life from within. Only by stopping time can we find that which is timeless and enduring and able to help us renew our lives and, in time, help the world turn around as well. Whether the issue is a problem in one’s own life or the course of life itself, in order to stop things in time, to make meaningful changes, we must stop time itself.
– Michael Meade

We need the other half of the world, the world of the shadow, the inside of things.
– C. G. Jung, Dream Analysis

I thought my friends were damn fools, because they didn’t know any better way of conducting their lives. Still they conformed better than I to a code. I wanted to conform but I couldn’t so I wrote my poetry.
– William Carlos Williams

We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.
– Pope Francis

The fact that the word ‘revolution’ originally meant restoration is more than a mere oddity of semantics.
– Hannah Arendt

Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.
– Octavia E. Butler

Foolish, selfish people are always thinking of themselves and the result is always negative. Wise persons think of others, helping them as much as they can, and the result is happiness. Love and compassion are beneficial both for you and others. Through your kindness to others, your mind and heart will open to peace.
– Dalai Lama

A wise
and wisdom-filled evening to you!
I not only look up to
the Elders and Mentors
I have around me in my life,
I look over to them,
around them,
down to them,
and equally parallel to them.
What makes a mentor
a mentor?
Age, and wisdom, and experience
certainly make for a good mentor.
But when I ask a child
how and why they can be
so full of exorbitant energy
and happiness,
and they give to me
their reasoning,
does that make them my mentor
in that moment?
When I ask my partner
how it is they know how to love
or cook so well,
and they explain to me their answer,
does that make them my mentor
in that moment?
When I ask of my roommate
for advice on a subject
that he happens to have
a lot more knowledge and education on,
regardless of him being younger than me,
does that make him my mentor
in that moment?
And when my neighbor
who is older than me
asks me for consultation
on a remodel project
that he is undertaking on his own,
and since construction is my business
and I happen to know
more about remodeling than he does,
does that make me his mentor
in that moment?
I say the answer
to all of those questions
is YES.
We all,
regardless of age or gender,
have the capacity to be mentors
at any given time
and to any potential person.
Mentorship, in my humble opinion,
is ignited by the person
who seeks to have the knowledge
which is already in possession
by the person being asked.
And a mentor is a person,
any person,
who happens to have the knowledge
and experience sought after,
but who is willing to share it.
Every single one of us
has the capacity and potential
to be a mentor
at any given moment.
And when we ask of others,
we are asking for mentorship.
We are all mentors,
and we are all mentored.
When needed,
may we all be humble
and vulnerable enough
to ask for mentorship.
And when given the opportunity,
may we all be humble
and loving enough
to be a mentor.
It may be a give and take world,
but it is also
a give and ask world.
In other words,
let us love and be loved,
and let us all be in realization
of our need for each other.
Wild be. 🍁

– Leaf Running-Rabbit

Orphans are not people who have no parents: they are people who don’t know their parents, who cannot go to them. Ours is a culture built upon the ruthless foundation of mass migration, but it is more so now a culture of people unable to say who their people are. In that way we are, relentlessly, orphans. Being an orphan culture does not mean that we have no wisdom. But wisdom is being confused in our time with information. Wisdom is an achievement, hard earned and faithfully paid for; it’s not a possession….An orphan wisdom might be the only culture-making thing we can rightly, honourably, or faithfully claim. There is immense grief in knowing this well and going towards it anyway. That grief could be our way of working now, our labour. It could be our beauty, too.
– Stephen Jenkinson, Orphan Wisdom

To search for small things worn by the deep is to be a poet.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Most of us achieve only at rare moments a clear realization of the fact that they have never tasted the fulfillment of existence, that their life does not participate in true, fulfilled existence, that, as it were, it passes true existence by. We nevertheless feel the deficiency at every moment, and in some measure try to find—somewhere—what we are seeking. Somewhere, in some province of the world or of the mind, except (accept? np) where we stand, where we have been set—but it is there and nowhere else that the treasure can be found. The environment which I feel to be the natural one, the situation which has been assigned to me as my fate, the things that happen to me day after day—these contain my essential task and such fulfillment of existence as is open to me. It is said of a certain Talmudic master that the paths of heaven were as bright to him as the streets of his native town. Hasidism inverts the order: It is a greater thing if the streets of a man’s native town are as bright to him as the paths of heaven. For it is here, where we stand, that we should try to make shine the light of the hidden divine life.
– Martin Buber

Unless it is stopped, the dominant culture will kill everything on the planet, or at least everything it can.

Each holocaust is unique. The destruction of the European Jewry did not look like the destruction of the American Indians. It could not, because the technologies involved were not the same, the targets were not the same, and the perpetrators were not the same. They shared motivations and certain aspects of their socialization, to be sure, but they were not the same. Similarly, the slaughter of Armenians (and Kurds) by Turks did not (and does not) look like the slaughter of Vietnamese by Americans. And just as similarly, the holocausts of the twenty-first century will not and do not already look like the great holocausts of the twentieth. They cannot, because this society has progressed.

And every holocaust looks different depending on the class to which the
observer belongs. The Holocaust looked far different to high ranking Nazi officials and to executives of large corporations—both of whose primary social concerns would have been how to maximize production and control, that is, how to most effectively exploit human and nonhuman resources—than it did to good Germans, whose primary concerns were as varied as the people themselves but probably included doing their own jobs—immoral as those jobs may have been from an outside perspective—as well as possible; may have included feelings of relief that those in power were finally doing something about the “Jewish Problem”; and certainly included doing whatever they could to not
notice the greasy smoke from the crematoria (constructed with the best materials and faultless workmanship). The Holocaust then also looked different to
good Germans than it did to those who resisted, whose main concerns may have been how to bring down the system. And it looked different to those who resisted than it did to those who were considered untermenschen, whose main concerns may have been staying alive, or failing that, dying with humanity.

Manifest Destiny looked different to Indians than it did to JP Morgan. American slavery looked different to slaves than it did to those whose comforts and elegancies were based on slavery, and than it did to those for whom free black labor drove down their wages.
What will the great holocausts of the twenty-first century will look like? It depends on where you stand. Look around.
If you’re in group one, one of those in power, your post-modern holocausts will be at most barely visible, and at least a price you’re willing to pay, as Madame Albright said about killing Iraqi children. The holocausts will probably share similarities with other holocausts, as you attempt to maximize production—to “grow the economy,” as you might say—and as when necessary you attempt to eradicate dissent. This means the holocaust will look like a
booming economy beset by shifting problems that somehow always keep you
from ever reaching the Promised Land, whatever that might be. The holocaust will look like numbers on ledgers. It will look like technical problems to be solved, whether those problems are increasing your access to necessary resources, dealing with global warming, calming unrest on the streets, or figuring out what to do about too many unproductive people on land you know
you could put to better use. The holocaust will look like houses with gates, limousines with bullet-proof glass, and a military budget that can never stop increasing.

The holocaust will feel like economics. It will feel like progress. It will feel like technological innovation. It will feel like civilization. It will feel like the way things are.
If you’re in the second group, the good Germans, you will continue to be co-opted into supporting the system that does not serve you well. Perhaps the holocaust will look like a new car. Perhaps it will look like lending your talents to a major corporation—or more broadly toward economic production—so you can make a better life for your children. Perhaps it will look like working as an engineer for Shell or on an assembly line for General Motors. Maybe it will look like basing a person’s value on her or his employability or productivity. Perhaps it will look like anger at Mexicans or Pakistanis or Algerians or Hmong who compete with you for jobs. Perhaps it will look like outrage at environmentalists who want to save some damn suckerfish, even (or especially) if it impinges on your property rights, or if it takes water you need to irrigate, to make the desert bloom, to make the desert productive. Maybe it will feel like continuing to do a job that you hate—and that requires so little of your humanity—because no
matter how you try, you never can seem to catch up. Maybe it will feel like being tired at the end of the day, and just wanting to sit and watch some television.”
– Derrick Jensen

The journey to enlightenment involves shedding not collecting. It’s a continual process of opening and surrender, like taking off layer after layer of clothes, until we’re completely naked, with nothing to hide. But we can’t just pretend, making a big display of disrobing, then putting everything back on when no one’s looking. Our surrender has to be genuine.
– Pema

Scathing tears set and takes no rest in silvery moon
Lit up because their bond was deeper and free it will never touch venom
I will illuminate this world, its inner peace and spirituality lashes of the eyes
The depressed night even more than enough to brighten up my night
Until the morning sun begins to rise and I sing a song
Our love story got backtracked tranquillity
Resting her head,
Freed spirit over this shadow realm surreal
I will let you carry me, as long I can catch your volatile dreams
Wish the illusion of division, you stay your course
And never stray the other side of the moon.
– Dr. Brajesh Kumar Gupta

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.
– Stephen Covey

Do you know what the Sacred is? It is that which serves as your partner in your search for the highest and deepest things.
– Brendan Myers

If we only use the Dharma to judge and look for faults in others, and never in ourselves, it is entirely missing the point of what it’s intended for.
Even if we find just a single fault in our own mind, it will bring us an infinite amount more benefit than doing nothing other than finding all of the faults in others.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

The planet is sick, in nature and culture, in need of urgent care from each of us.
– Thomas Moore

Friendship is a sheltering tree
– Coleridge

May you in your innocence
Sail through this to that
– Lucille Cliffton

The pith instruction is, Stay. . . stay. . . just stay.
– Pema Chödrön on meditation.

Please, no more!
~ Prayer of a spiritual worrier

Bring it on!
~ Mantra of a spiritual warrior

The lonely child who travels through
The fearful waste and desolate fields,
And listens to their barren tune,
Greets as an unknown and best friend
The terror in him, and he sings
In darkness all the sweetest songs.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Listening by Rumi

What is the deep listening? Sama is
a greeting from the secret ones inside

the heart, a letter. The branches of
your intelligence grows new leaves in

the wind of this listening. The body
reaches a peace. Rooster sound comes,

reminding you of your love for dawn,
The reed flute and the singer’s lips:

The knack of how spirit breathes into
us becomes as simple and ordinary as

Eating and drinking. The dead rise with
the pleasure of listening. If someone

Can’t hear a trumpet melody, sprinkle
dirt on his head and declare him dead.

Listen, and feel the beauty of your
separation, the unsayable absence.

There’s a moon inside every human being.
Learn to be companions with it. Give

more of your life to this listening. As
brightness is to time, so you are to

the one who talks to the deep ear in
your chest. I should sell my tongue

and buy a thousand ears when that
one steps near and begins to speak.

Anything you are not willing to experience and open as, you will repeatedly confront. If you are afraid to feel anger, if you are unwilling to love as anger and dissolve open as anger, then you will continually struggle with anger in yourself and others. If you are afraid to feel, love, and open as insecurity, then you will necessitate threats to your security. Your very recoil will sustain the ripples of that which you fear, necessitating a confrontation with whatever you are unwilling to fully feel, be alive as, and open as.
– David Deida

The positive energy and love we give to others, heals our own wounds.
– Angie Karan

Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?
– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Either you look and see beyond language – as a first perception – or you see the world through the filter of your thoughts, by talking to yourself. Everyone knows what it is like to feel things directly. Intense emotions… don’t have a language. They are too intense in the first flash… Synchronizing mind and body is looking and seeing directly beyond language… you can see on the spot with wakefulness. Your eyes begin to open wider and wider, and you see that the world is colorful and fresh and so precise, every sharp angle is fantastic.
– Shambhala Sacred Path of the Warrior pg 41

Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.
– John Adams

When your mind drifts away from the dharma, that’s the demon. A demon is not something with a large, open mouth and fiery eyes.
If you have no confidence in the dharma, if you do not persevere in the dharma and only think about passing your whole life comfortably, you have a more dangerous demon right in your own mind.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche-Pith I

Some moments in a life, and they needn’t be very long or seem very important, can make up for so much in that life; can redeem, justify, that pain, that bewilderment, with which one lives, and invest one with the courage not only to endure it, but to profit from it; some moments teach one the price of human connection: if one can live with one’s own pain, then one respects the pain of others, and so, briefly, but transcendentally, we can release each other from pain.
– James Baldwin

If boundaries are created
Then brotherhood becomes a mere eleven lettered word
No feelings of belonging remain
When we perceive each other with an air of disdain
And our pride becomes a concrete wall
Dividing us
And poetry dies an untimely death
When segregation sets in..
If my thoughts are mere words
Lost forever in the haze of separate identities
Then my feelings are just worthless rantings of a lonely soul
Forever mocked, laughed at and made fun of
And then poetry dies an untimely death
When segregation sets in…
If we are not able to bridge this gap that we created
And words and feelings take you further away from me
Then I shall write no more
And my poetry dies an untimely death…
– Anita Limbu Moktan

Strive to be uncynical, to be a hope-giving force, to be a steward of substance.
– Maria Popova

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
– Otto Rank


The most psychologically and morally intelligent people I have met have suffered powerful challenges, hurts, abuse, and dehumanization and have found a way through to their own gifts, humanity, creativity and purpose. I believe these are the teachers we most need today – the ones who can help right the ship. Thank you, thank you, thank you for ever educating me and modeling profound courage.
– David Bedrick

I’m working on the world,
revised, improved edition,
featuring fun for fools,
blues for brooders,
combs for bald pates,
tricks for old dogs.

Here’s one chapter: The Speech
of Animals and Plants.
Each species comes, of course,
with its own dictionary.
Even a simple “Hi there,”
when traded with a fish,
make both the fish and you
feel quite extraordinary.

The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoot of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they are sleeping in the park!

Time (Chapter Two) retains
its sacred right to meddle
in each earthly affair.
Still, time’s unbounded power
that makes a mountain crumble,
moves seas, rotates a star,
won’t be enough to tear
lovers apart: they are
too naked, too embraced,
too much like timid sparrows.

Old age is, in my book,
the price that felons pay,
so don’t whine that it’s steep:
you’ll stay young if you’re good.
Suffering (Chapter Three)
doesn’t insult the body.
Death? It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.

When it comes, you’ll be dreaming
that you don’t need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it’s part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.
Only a death like that. A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you’d feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.

Only a world like that. To die
just that much. And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach’s fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.
– Wislawa Szymborska

All good poets of the past, almost without exception, were at least bilingual if not trilingual.
– Helen Vendler

In the future, brave men and women will write a Declaration of Interdependence that will be read and honored alongside the Declaration of Independence: proof of our evolution, revolution of our own growth and understanding. The open space of democracy provides justice for ALL living things – plants, animals, rocks, and rivers, as well as human beings. It is a landscape that encourages diversity and discourages conformity.
– Terry Tempest Williams​

A person must be highly sensitive to attune to multiple and opposing domains: the nuanced thinker is condemned to walk the razors edge. We become an unemployed Samurai when we swallow both the red pill and the blue pill – the empirical and the mythical, to put it in another way. The unemployed Samurai swallows the whole of life in other words: the good, the bad and the ugly. He is not a social jus…tice warrior particularly: he fights for his own soul. This means must set himself strait before he pretends to set the community strait and decry the injustices of the world. It’s a question of becoming responsible and truthful as an individual, which might mean losing a few friends along the way or spending some time in the wilderness. If you don’t support your friends in their social warrior trip — or conservatism trip or science trip or religion trip or whatever they may be on for that matter — then that ‘friend’ might not have any more use for you. If you are not interested in ‘trips’ but in actual voyages, in deep truth rather than ideology, then you could become a pariah. But it’s worth it, and the alternative is grim.
– Andrew Sweeny​

On Compassion

Compassion for others isn’t an abstract feeling you cultivate in your heart out of nowhere.

When I see people speak about compassion in that way i…t’s usually denial, spiritual bypassing and a deep discomfort with being angry. Compassion isn’t a cause. It’s an effect. It’s not a phenomenon. It’s an epiphenomenon. It’s not the seed. It’s the the fruit.

Real compassion never begins with the decision to ‘be compassionate’. Real compassion usually starts with some level of anger or judgment about the actions of another. We see them as a perpetrator. We demonize them. We label them. We write them off. We ask ourselves, “How could they have done that?”
And then comes the learning – almost always unasked for, almost always unwelcome. And what is the learning about? It’s about what they had to go through to get to where they are today. It’s about learning all the ways in which they were victimized by life and defeated by forces and institutions so much bigger than them.

Compassion sounds less like, “I forgive you,” and more like, “Fuck… you never had a chance. My God.” We ask ourselves, “How could they not have done that?”

Self-compassion comes from the same place. It begins with a fierce and burning self-hatred and shame for all the things you’ve done and not done and then, if you’re lucky, you come to realize that, given what was going on in your life, given what happened in the life of your parents and community, given what happened in the lives of your ancestors… you never had a chance either. And that is nothing but heartbreaking to see. You got let down by your culture. But it’s also a relief. You give yourself a fucking break for not being able to, all by yourself, stand up to the evils, poverties and oppressions of your day. This kind of learning is the breaking of the spell of competence (that you should always know what to do and do it well) and self-sufficiency (all by yourself).

Compassion doesn’t come from a decision to be compassionate. That’s where repression comes from. It comes from learning.

In seeing this all, you see what was missing and, in seeing this, the world has a chance to be different. You wake up one day and you see that you might have some role to play in changing those things. You might have a role to play in making sure the next generation has a better shot than you did.
– Tad Hargrave

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed …
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
– Emily Dickinson​

Whoever told people that mind is opinions, thoughts, ideas, and consciousness? No. Mind is roof-tiles, fence-posts, tire-wheels, carriages, rocks, water, and clouds.
– Dogen-zenji, via Gary Snyder

All my ancient twisted karma
From beginningless greed, hate and delusion,
Born of body, speech and mind,
I now fully atone.
– Gatha of atonement, recited each morning and during the Fusatsu ceremony of renewing the precepts, performed on the full moon​

At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and the animals that come and go, in the procession of the seasons. There is nothing…with which I am not linked.
– Carl Jung

To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is.
– Pema Chödrön

If you can’t liberate yourself, who else will liberate you?
It you can’t train yourself, who else will train you?

So, pointing your finger at your own heart —

Again and again, train your own three doors in the Dharma!
– Khenpo Ngakchung​

I’m lucky enough to occasionally be able to do something I love – write poems – and unlucky enough that what I love confuses and overwhelms me.
– Mary Ruefle

The origins of poetry are clearly rooted in obscurity, in secretiveness, in incantation, in spells that must at once invoke and protect, tell the secret and keep it.
– Mary Ruefle

Words have a love for each other, a desire that culminates in poetry.
– Mary Ruefle​

Love that friend, that person, that thing, whatever you like, you’ll be on the right path to knowing more thoroughly, afterwards; that’s what I say to myself. But you must love with a high, serious intimate sympathy, with a will, with intelligence, and you must always seek to know more thoroughly, better, and more.
– Vincent Van Gogh, in a
letter to his brother

I am convinced that the first lyric poem was written at night, and that the moon was witness to the event and that the event was witness to the moon. For me, the moon has always been the very embodiment of lyric poetry.
– Mary Ruefle

There is a world which poets cannot seem to enter. It is the world everybody else lives in. And the only thing poets seem to have in common is their yearning to enter this world.
– Mary Ruefle

Be gentle with yourself. This is a long and difficult journey. Your goals should be reasonable so as not to create frustration and disappointments. Be willing to crawl before you walk. Perfect each skill as you move along on the journey, and forgive yourself when you stumble, or even slide backward. Setbacks are temporary and meant to be instructive. Let yourself slide backward, observe what has occurred, get back on your feet, and move forward. Sliding backward is part of the pattern of growth. Just don’t slide backward and stay there. Don’t ever give up. Progress is made of perseverance. Never lose hope.”
– Swami Rama​

To succeed in this task of shaping the future, the will of the more comprehensive self must be functioning. The individual will can function in this capacity only through an acknowledged union with the deeper structure of reality. Even beyond union with the human community must be union with the Earth, with the universe itself in the full wonder of its being. Only the Earth can adequately will the Earth. If we will the future effectively it will be because the guidance and the powers of the Earth have been communicated to us.
– Thomas Berry

I hope to have gathered
To repay your kindness
The willow leaves
Scattered in the garden.
– Matsuo Bashō

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.
Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.
– C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

by Wislawa Szymborska
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immermorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling straight and simple.
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.
– Richard Bach

Emily Sernaker

Before every job interview, I think
of Julie Andrews swinging her suitcase,
singing “I have confidence”
in The Sound of Music.
She really psyches herself up
in that silly hat, clicking her heels
beside a yellow wall; body diagonal
in the air with hope. The Red Cross
lobby had big marble displays,
hands chiseled holding onto each other.
I liked the interviews there, all that
Clara Barton history, plans for unplanned
catastrophes. It was a big change
from the San Francisco start-up.
Oak boardroom table, one
of those rooftop views, vending machines
with Guinness and chocolate milk.
The Bay Area was looking good:
cats named Billie Holiday,
quilts spread over Dolores Park.
Everyone was eating kale, handing me
drinks in mason jars. I had a hotdog
in New York. Sat in the Marc Chagall
conference room of a Refugee Relief Agency.
Because you guys resettled him right?
It was a terrific story. Fifty Americans saved
2,000 artists, intellectuals from the Nazis.
Their board member went on Ed Sullivan,
convinced the public to help more.
That group eventually hired me
but not for a few years and not
in that city. How fast can you input data?
You look like you’re waiting
for the principal’s office. All I trust
I lead my heart to. All I trust becomes
my own. I have confidence
in confidence alone. A bird shit on me
in Manhattan. I wiped it off,
was still wearing a black dress in a big city.
I bought a slice of cheesecake,
used an old student ID for a nosebleed ticket
on Broadway. The audience was full
of student choirs. One boy couldn’t help it:
as we were taking our seats,
he sang a few lines of
“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
He just wanted to hear
what his voice sounded like,
reverberating through a place like that.

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

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.
– Cesare Pavese

No matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you.
– Zora Neale Hurston

Feminist politics aims to end domination, to free us to be who we are – to live lives where we love justice, where we can live in peace. Feminism is for everybody.
– Bell Hooks

You couldn’t handle my undivided attention.
– Dwight K. Schrute

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

Self-education is the best antidote to boredom,
memory-loss, depression, anxiety, fatigue, 
cynicism, alienation, general-awkwardness-in-an 
Einsteinian-universe, good vision, 
(and a bunch of other pseudo-maladies)
that I have yet found – 
Whether it actually has any value – 
is another question
– E.M.

One thing I am sure of: courtesy and kindliness and tolerance and humility and fairness are right. Opinions may be mistaken; love never is.
– Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Without having ourselves firmly rooted in respect for all beings and ourselves, our world is imperiled.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

Respect is the basis of love, justice, and is an expression of wisdom.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

Maybe you could think of yourself as an erased blackboard, ready to be written on. For by and large, what blocks spiritual teaching is the assumption that we already know, or that we don’t need to know. We have to pray for the grace of beginner’s mind.
― Richard Rohr

Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.
– Ted Hughes

There is the inner life of thought which is our world of final reality. The world of memory, emotion, feeling, imagination, intelligence and natural common sense, and which goes on all the time consciously or unconsciously like the heartbeat.

There is also the thinking process by which we break into that inner life and capture answers and evidence to support the answers out of it.

And that process of raid, or persuasion, or ambush, or dogged hunting, or surrender, is the kind of thinking we have to learn, and if we don’t somehow learn it, then our minds lie in us like the fish in the pond of a man who can’t fish.
– Ted Hughes

“lifetime’s solitary thread”
for Charles Wright

It’s like fishing in the dark,
If you ask me:
Our thoughts are the hooks,
Our hearts the raw bait

We cast the line over our heads,
Past all faith, past all believing,
Into the starless midnight sky,
Until it’s lost to sight.

The line’s long unraveling,
Rising in our throats like a sigh
Of a long day’s weariness,
Soul-searching and revery

One thought against the Supreme

How about that?

Loony-tunes, fishing in the dark
Out of an empty sleeve
With a mourning band on it.

The fly and the spider on the ceiling
Looking on, brother.
– Charles Simic

Psychologists and psychiatrists are moving from their traditional hostility to ecstasy to an understanding that it’s often good for us. Much of our personality is made up of attitudes that are usually subconscious. We drag around buried trauma, guilt, feelings of low self-worth. In moments of ecstasy, the threshold of consciousness is lowered, people encounter these subconscious attitudes, and are able to step outside of them. They can feel a deep sense of love for themselves and others, which can heal them at a deep level. Maybe this is just an opening to the subconscious, maybe it’s a connection to a higher dimension of spirit – we don’t know . . . Ultimately, there’s something in us that calls to us, that pulls us out the door.
– Jules Evans

But that wasn’t what he had necessarily come looking for. He had never explained to anyone what this place meant to him. If he had had to, he would have said: water mostly, tame rivers, soft rain, mist, coolness, greenery and arbours, shady oaks. Things of refreshment and ease. Poetry, too. Yes. Things that cut the deepest thirst. Peace.”
– Guy Vanderhaeghe

A thrush, because I’d been wrong,
Burst rightly into song
In a world not vague, not lonely,
Not governed by me only.
– Richard Wilbur, On Having Mis-Identified a WIld Flower

I do not care for the body, I love the timid soul, the blushing, shrinking soul …
– Emily Dickinson

I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again —
– Georgia O’Keeffe

And it was at that age … poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was, without a face,
and it touched me.
I didn’t know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
And something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose on the wind.
– Pablo Neruda, Poetry

In the dim light of narrowly spaced overshadowing shelves I felt the spiritual and solitary freedom of an inexorable order only chance creates. Quiet articulates poetry. [ …] I had a sense of the parallel between our always fragmentary knowledge and the continual progress toward perfect understanding that never withers away.
– Susan Howe

Heart comes from the Latin cor and points not merely to our emotions but to the core of the self, that center place where all of our ways of knowing converge—intellectual, emotional, sensory, intuitive, imaginative, experiential, relational, and bodily, among others. 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. Cor is also the Latin root from which we get the word courage. When all that we understand of self and world comes together in the center place called the heart, we are more likely to find the courage to act humanely on what we know.
– Parker J Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit

There are three kinds of patriots, said William Sloane Coffin, two bad, one good. The bad are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country.

It is easy enough to see that all through our lives we are faced with the task of reconciling opposites which, in logical thought, cannot be reconciled. The typical problems of life are insoluble on the level of being on which we normally find ourselves. How can one reconcile the demands of freedom and discipline in education? Countless mothers and teachers, in fact, do it, but no one can write down a solution. They do it by bringing into the situation a force that belongs to a higher level where opposites are transcended—the power of love. – E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
– Henry Ford

think our culture doesn’t recognize passion, because real passion has the power to disrupt boundaries.
– Bell Hooks

Without community, there is no liberation.
– Audre Lorde

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, the soul of America dies with it.
– Edward R. Murrow

Prick of God pain
up my heart
I almost surrender
‎- Cb Crane‎

The difference between being an ideologue and a true philosopher is that the ideologue dispenses ready-made formulas for action and behaviour. One can easily parrot Marxist or Christian or Pagan or Feminist or New Age or whatever stock ideologies because they are convenient and easy to assemble like Ikea Furniture. Ideologies put reality into convenient boxes; you can use them wily-nily in any discussion and appear to be furnished with intelligence. Upon investigation, ideologies are cheap and flimsy and without character; they fall apart easily when put in the light. However, to the furniture maker of quality, to extend the analogy, or the real philosopher, or the unemployed samurai, they are anathema. Why? Because they are merely conceptual rather than deeply felt or reasoned truths; they do not reach the living world, but rather form a kind of fog over all existence. However, this fog is comfortable for masses of people who prefer to live in a dank pond than in the bright sunlight. And this is why the Unemployed Samurai is alone and without a noble friend. His enemy is bad furniture, verbiage, and spiritual pollution of all kinds.
– Andrew Sweeny

In the next world, I will be the one
forever pushing open
the warped, green shutters to let
the sunlight enter the room …
– Roberta Spear

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that test[ed] my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
– Claude McKay

Porous memories fuse and interpenetrate. Fragments of song mingle in hot remembered afternoons, mysterious angers return at a flush with a chance forgotten postcard. Such memories were once the motions of old fluids, animal spirits which meandered and rummaged through the pores of the brain. They held experience and history in bodies which were themselves porous, uncertainly coupled across tissues and skin with their air, their ethics, their land. Now they are patterns of activation across vast neural networks, condensing and compressing innumerable possible trajectories into the particular vectors of flashing or torpid memories. Dynamic cognitive systems coevolving with the physiological, environmental, and social systems in which they are embedded need the wishful mixings of absence which interfering traces bring.
– John Sutton

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

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

… Blunders are not the merest chance. They are the results of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life, produced by unsuspected springs. And these may be very deep—as deep as the soul itself. The blunder may amount to the opening of a destiny.
– Joseph Campbell

Inner liberty depends upon being exempt from domination of things as well as from domination of people.
– Abraham Heschel

To seek visions, to dream dreams, is essential, and it is also essential to try new ways of living, to make room for serious experimentation, to respect the effort even where it fails.
– Adrienne Rich

Great crises and impossible tasks can uncover hidden resources and reveal veins of genius that can alter the course of history. The threat of collapse and utter loss can also serve to awaken genius qualities and radical solutions. Each soul desires to be part of something greater, something “larger than life,” for we each harbor within ourselves a larger life and a greater self waiting to become known.
– Michael Meade

The Tent
Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952
When did hordes of sentences start beginning with So?
As if everything were always pending, 
leaning on what came before.
What can you expect? 
Loneliness everywhere, entertained or kept in storage.
So you felt anxious to be alone.
Easier to hear, explore a city, room,
mound of hours, no one walking beside you.
Talking to self endlessly, but mostly listening.
This would not be strange.
It would be the tent you slept in.

Waking calmly inside whatever
you had to do would be freedom.
It would be your country.
The men in front of me had whole acres
in their eyes. I could feel them cross, recross each day.
Memory, stitched.  History, soothed.
What we do or might prefer to do. Have done.
How we got here. Telling ourselves a story
till it’s compact enough to bear. 
Passing the walls, wearing the sky,
the slight bow and rising of trees.
Everything ceaselessly holding us close.
So we are accompanied.
Never cast out without a line of language to reel us back.
That is what happened, how I got here.
So maybe. One way anyway.
A story was sewn, seed sown,
this was what patriotism meant to me—
to be at home inside my own head long enough
to accept its infinite freedom
and move forward anywhere, to mysteries coming.
Even at night in a desert, temperatures plummet,
billowing tent flaps murmur to one other.

I wanted to tell you that my whole being opened for you. Since I fell in love with you everything is transformed and is full of beauty… love is like an aroma, like a current, like rain.
– Frida Kahlo

We are all of us, to some degree or another, brainwashed by the society we live in. We are able to see this when we travel to another country, and are able to catch a glimpse of our own country with foreign eyes. There is nothing much we can do about this except to remember that it is so. Every one of us is part of the great comforting illusions, and part illusions, which every society uses to keep up its confidence in itself. These are hard to examine, and the best we can hope for is that a kindly friend from another culture will enable us to look at our culture with dispassionate eyes.
– Doris Lessing

I think reading is very calming. But I think it puts you in touch with—let’s call it life, humanity, in a way you may not be normally. Generally speaking, you’re holding people away from yourself—at least I am—or you become a bit disillusioned with people, but a book acts contra to all that. I think a book gives you a certain sense of worth to read it, even a sense of pride, even though you had nothing to do with its being written. I think you admire a book if you really like it, if it’s a good book. If it’s that sort of book, I think you feel some kind of camaraderie, pride, with the writer.
– James Salter

A friend asked if Utopia is possible, or whether it’s just a silly dream. Here is how I responded:

This is among the very most important of all questions – or perhaps I should amend this to say that the question of what utopia is, of what your utopian vision looks like, is the most important of all questions. Beyond the dreams you have for your life, the utopian vision is the dream you hold for all humanity. Without the utopian dream and the simplest core belief that it’s… possible, we drift aimlessly – we wander in a desert of our own bleak fabrication. Without utopian visions we clunk down a civilizational death spiral and substitute entertainment for sacred work. Utopia isn’t simply the best of all possible worlds, it’s the very deepest expression of our nature in so far as it’s been converted into desiring-production. Even the faintest understanding of utopia is to be watered and nurtured. It is the blueprint of what we are to become, but splintered and seen through millions and millions of eyes. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a fantasy born from religious zealots. It is a utopian blueprint. To hold the Kingdom of Heaven in your heart with great clarity is to be a flower bud that knows it’s going to bloom.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

It is a terrible misunderstanding of the Gospel to think that it offers us salvation while relieving us of responsibility for the life of the world, for the sin and sorrow and pain with which our human life and that of our fellow men and women are so deeply interwoven.
– Lesslie Newbigin

Many are in some strange way business-bitten, or dry rotted with low cares. ‘No time,’ ‘too many duties,’ ‘not strong enough, rich enough,’ etc., are excuses urged [for not getting out into Nature.] In money-getting and mere good-doing, etc. we die and are coffined and hearsed and hidden away in a graveyard, hurried OUT of the world before having got INTO it, got one good look at it.”
– John Muir​

All the Hemispheres
– Hafiz (1320 – 1389 C.E.)

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark
on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

Prayer and Art are passionate acts of will. One wants to transcend and enhance the will’s normal possibilities. Art like prayer is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace which will transform it into a hand that bestows gifts. Prayer means casting oneself into the miraculous rainbow that stretches between becoming and dying, to be utterly consumed in it, in order to bring its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one’s own existence.
– Kafka

Soulmates aren’t
the people
that make you the
happiest, no.
They’re instead the
who make you feel…
the most
burning like a
star on the edge of
the world
as one night ends
and another
Radiation and
Scientific poetry,
poetic science.
Around and around
in an endless
They’re pure
danger, and
They’re the ones
that can destroy
They’re the only
you long to know.
– Victoria Erickson

Let my history then
be a gate unfastened
to a new life
and not a barrier
to my becoming. …
Let me find the ghosts
and histories and barely
imagined future
of this world,
and let me now have
the innocence to grow
just as well in shadow or light
by what is gifted
in this land
as the one to which I was born.
– David Whyte​

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

You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word ‘is’
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.
Notice: I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.
– Czeslaw Milosz

I have gradually come to one negative conclusion about the good life. It seems to me that the good life is not any fixed state. It is not, in my estimation, a state of virtue, or contentment, or nirvana, or happiness. It is not a condition in which the individual is adjusted or fulfilled or actualized….The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.
– Carl Rogers

Rape Is Not a Poem
June Jordan
One day she saw them coming into the garden…
where the flowers live.
found the colors beautiful and 
they discovered the sweet smell
that the flowers held
they stamped upon and tore apart
the garden
just because (they said)
those flowers?
They were asking for it.
I let him into the house to say hello.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hello,” I said.
“How’re you?” he asked me.
“Not bad,” I told him.
“You look great,” he smiled.
“Thanks; I’ve been busy: I am busy.”
“Well, I guess I’ll be heading out, again,” he said.
“Okay,” I answered and, “Take care,” I said.
“I’m gonna do just that,” he said.
“No!” I said: “No! Please don’t. Please leave me alone. Now. No. Please!” I said.
“I’m leaving,” he laughed: “I’m leaving you alone; I’m going now!”
“No!” I cried: “No. Please don’t do this to me!”
But he was not talking anymore and there was
nothing else that I could say
to make him listen
to me.
And considering your contempt
And consider my hatred consequent to that
And considering the history
That leads us to this dismal place where (your arm
and my eyes
there is nothing left but the drippings
of power and
a consummate wreck of tenderness/I
want to know:
Is this what you call
Only Natural?
My dog will never the learn the names
of stars or thorns but
fully he
encounters whatever it is
shits on the ground
then finds a fallen leaf still holding
raindrops from the day and
there he stays
a big dog
(licking at the tiny water)
delicate as he is
You should let him teach you how
to come down

been through
so believe me when…
i say,

fear her when she looks

into a fire and smiles.
– e.corona

The Power of Art – Mark Rothko” by BBC.
When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was an golden age, for we all had nothing to lose, and the vision, the gain. Today is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I will not venture to discuss. But I do know that many of those who were driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.

May I behold the sun-like Buddha with his signs and marks,
May I savour the nectar of the sun-like Dharma in my heart,
And may the sun-like Sangha accompany me to liberation—
From the light of these three sun-like Supreme Ones, may I never part!
– Aric Parker

When the light off the river paints the roots of that old willow just as you pass, the world is telling you to stop running. Forget what it means, just stop running.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

We should know that, just as we may see the buddha without knowing or understanding him, so we may see water and yet not know water, may see mountains and yet not know mountains. The precipitate assumption that the phenomena before one’s eyes offer no further passage is not the study of the buddha.
– Dogen Zenji

Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.
– Thomas Paine

Is it necessary to believe the stories you tell yourself and others about how and why things could or should be different from what they are? Who would you be, experientially, without these stories?
– Dennis Lewis

Maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness. If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.
– Alain de Botton

Don’t think just now of the trudging forward of thought,
But of the wing-drive of unquestioning affirmation.
It’s summer, you never saw such a blue sky,
And here they are, those white birds with quick wings,
Sweeping over the waves, chattering and plunging,
Their thin beaks snapping, their hard eyes
Happy as little nails
The years to come – this is a promise –
Will grant you ample time
To try the difficult steps in the empire of thought
Where you seek for the shining proofs you think you must have.
But nothing you ever understand will be sweeter, or more binding,
Than this deepest affinity between your eyes and the world.
The flock thickens
Over the rolling, salt brightness. Listen,
Maybe such devotion, in which one holds the world
In the clasp of attention, isn’t the perfect prayer,
But it must be close, for the sorrow, whose name is doubt,
Is thus subdued, and not through the weaponry of reason,
But of pure submission. Tell me, what else
Could beauty be for? And now the tide
Is at its very crown,
The white birds sprinkle down,
Gathering up the loose silver rising
As if weightless. It isn’t instruction, or parable.
It isn’t for any vanity or ambition
Except for the one allowed, to stay alive.
It’s only a nimble frolic
Over the waves. And you find, for hours,
You cannot even remember the questions
That weigh so in your mind.
– Mary Oliver

A Russian cosmonaut and a Russian brain surgeon were once discussing Christianity. The brain surgeon was a Christian, but the cosmonaut wasn’t. ‘I have been in outer space many times,’ bragged the cosmonaut, ‘but I have never seen any angels.’ The brain surgeon stared in amazement, but then he said, ‘And I have operated on many intelligent brains, but I have never seen a single thought.’
– Jostein Gaarder

Throughout the entire history of philosophy, philosophers have sought to discover what man is – or what human nature is. But Sartre believed that man has no such eternal nature to fall back on. It is therefore useless to search for the meaning of life in general. We are condemned to improvise. We are like actors dragged onto the stage without having learned our lines, with no script and no prompter to whisper stage directions to us. We must decide for ourselves how to live.
– Jostein Gaarder

On the way there a pair of startled wings clattered up – that was all. You go alone. A tall building that consists entirely of cracks, a building that is perpetually toppling but can never collapse. The thousandfold sun floats in through the cracks. In this play of light an inverted law of gravity prevails: the house is anchored in the sky and whatever falls, falls upward. There you can turn around. There you are allowed to grieve. You can dare to face certain old truths kept packed, in storage. The roles I have, deep down, float up, hang like dried skulls in the ancestral cabin on some out-of-the-way Melanesian islet. A childlike aura circles the gruesome trophies. So mild it is, in the forest.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Men and women so soft-spoken that even

their affirmations were denials, these
self-effacers, drawing a line with one hand,
erasing it with the other. What could have

raise their voices, coaxed them forward?
How difficult to say, I exist, to take
one’s place among the multitudes.

Walking near the barn at night I feel
the touch of those unable to touch,
of those whose bodies felt too heavy:

finger of cold, finger of dampness.
What have they found courage to ask
now the chance of answering has passed?
– Stephen Dobyns

This was not to say, however, that she did not long, at times, for some greater change, that she did not experience some of those exceptional moments when one thirsts for something other than what is, and when those who, through lack of energy or imagination, are unable to generate any motive power in themselves, cry out, as the clock strikes or the postman knocks, for something new, even if it is worse, some emotion, some sorrow; when the heartstrings, which contentment has silenced, like a harp laid by, yearn to be plucked and sounded again by some hand, however rough, even if it should break them; when the will, which has with such difficulty won the right to indulge without let or hindrance in its own desires and woes, would gladly fling the reins into the hands of imperious circumstance, however cruel.
– Marcel Proust

In my sketchbook of Lonely Moments
there is a figure I draw especially
sustaining, at least for today, for I keep
the book to ponder what other folks do
when life doles out a cul de sac.
– Stephen Dobyns

If only–If only we hadn’t been defeated by humdrum humming present time and missed it, missed ourselves, missed everything.
– Walker Percy

To be true to myself, to be the person that was on the inside of me, and not play games. That’s what I’m trying to do mostly in the whole world, to not bullshit myself and nor anybody else.
– Janis Joplin

Seeing and listening at every pore, I stood in her temple today.
– John Muir

You cannot will intoxication, vertigo, a ravening, or wild / Love.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
– Ansel Adams

You might be surprised to what extent you can relieve your stressed-out system with a brief, non-essential walk down the hall, a peek out the window at the outer world, or even a seriously deep sigh that engages you right down to the toes. Do anything to interrupt the deadening bond that glues all your attention to what you’re writing, reading, cooking, chopping, building. Truly, the body possesses wisdom that thought doesn’t understand. We can practice listening to it as we expand into reality. That’s where joy lives, in any present moment.
– Patty de Llosa

When you aren’t waiting for anything to happen, there is a natural sinking and deepening into the source of your own being. It’s very quiet, and then, and only then, do you start to sense presence. There is a very palpable presence in this quiet. That is why I said this is not a dead quiet. You can sense an aliveness. It’s a presence that’s inside your body and outside your body. It permeates everywhere. When you are looking for it, you are looking for a gross presence, a heavy presence to hit you over the head. This isn’t going to happen. The true quiet is a brightness. You feel bright. There is an awakeness, a deep sense of being alive.
– Adyashanti

The Desert

The rhythm of the desert
Calls to me
As if it had come foreword
Without hesitation
A full-formed character in the game
I thought I lost
Winds ravish the sweeping hills
Landscapes too beautiful and
Forgone to be forgotten
Those who can survive in its bitter thirst
Are angels from the land
Beyond sorrows who eat and drink
From a wellspring of hope,
buried beyond the reaches
Of the farthest evening
Star, staring like a satyr
Into the dusk
From behind the hills.
And when the hills weep
I weep too, for a land that
Time lost but never forgotten
For rocks that had whittled their
Way down to granite grains
Found their way into gloves
Form a sandman who
Lives on the horizon and eats the stars for
Supper- and how he does it
Walking on the tightrope
Between words of form and
Formlessness, between mind and
The edge of the mountains,
An abyss
A cave of deep crystalline soils
I would like to be buried there
When I die.
– Claire Boyce

There is no place for grief in a house which serves the Muse.
– Sappho

The Master of Coca Leaves
There are the chosen ones among us; the ones who lightning
strikes, more than once. The ones who are blinded so that
they can learn to see in the pitch of darkness. The ones who
live in hermitude because the filaments radiating from their
heart are tethered to everything, and it hurts. A body can be
too small to contain a soul. A mountain can be too small to
contain a soul. Mastery comes from continually showing up and
saying, “Yes!” You cannot serve another option. I was blessed to witness you there, lifting your gaze skyward with extended arms, to know you when your life was the offering
for the prayer request
you never made.
– Jamie K. Reaser

For Love
Robert Creeley
for Bobbie
Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above
the others to me
important because all
that I know derives
from what it teaches me.
Today, what is it that
is finally so helpless,
different, despairs of its own
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.
If the moon did not …
no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but
what would I not
do, what prevention, what
thing so quickly stopped.
That is love yesterday
or tomorrow, not
now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must
I think of everything
as earned. Now love also
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.
Here is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and
whimsical if pompous
self-regard. But that image
is only of the mind’s
vague structure, vague to me
because it is my own.
Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,
what have I made you into,
companion, good company,
crossed legs with skirt, or
soft body under
the bones of the bed.
Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in
some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.
Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you
also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to
say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.

Musing on strengths & weaknesses:
I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me. I would write on the lintels of the doorpost, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.
– Ralph Waldo #Emerson
It is often our mightiest projects that most obviously betray the degree of our insecurity.
– W. G. #Sebald
My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it.
– Joë #Bousquet
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh… For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities… Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions… for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

via Yahia Lababidi

I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness.
I believe, I Believe.
– Mary Anne Perrone

In many tribal cultures, it is said that if the boys were not initiated into manhood, if they were not shaped by the skills and love of elders, then they would destroy the culture.

If the fires that innately burn inside youths are not intentionally and lovingly added to the hearth of community, they will burn down the structures of culture, just to feel the warmth.

– Michael Meade

The warrior’s path is waking up every morning with nothing to prove.
– Cynthia Kneen

Wherever you are, what is given to you is the capacity to tend your own heart and find a freedom of spirit within yourself.
– Jack Kornfield


Tensions extenuate in controversial
Retrogrades that blade and crave
Degrade upgrade downgrade overturn graves
Shake quake shiver and shudder in conceptual

Convulsions agitated and in distress
Disturbed elements fluster
Unsettled orbs muster
Waiting for the eclipse to crest

Are you rattled?
Shocked troubled alarmed?
Planets arm and disarm
Ancient tales prattle

A celestial reshuffle
A restructuring a change
A shakedown to rearrange
A stellar of a hustle

Tremors and delerium
Escapades and interludes
Tremens that delude
Within the ethereal continuum

A quivering upheaval
A makeover and an overhaul
Will you stand tall or be mauled?
Or are you in denial that our world is on trial?

– Eilie Brown

Just understand your mind: how it works, how attachment and desire arise, how ignorance arises, where emotions come from. It is sufficient to know the nature of all that; just that gives so much happiness and peace.
– Lama Thubten Yeshe

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ “The path starts when we question if things are not quite how they seem to be. This is the spirit of Buddhism.”

To love another is something like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
– Anne Sexton

Nothing beautiful can be summarized.
– Paul Valery

Meditation is another dimension of natural beauty. People talk about appreciating natural beauty – climbing mountains, seeing giraffes and tigers in Africa, and all sorts of things. But nobody seems to appreciate this kind of natural beauty of ourselves. This is actually far more beautiful than flora and fauna, far more fantastic, far more painful and colorful and delightful.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (born July 12, 1904) preferred to write in green ink because the color was his personal symbol of hope.

Finding the One Brief Note
Maxine Kumin
I woke this morning from the uneasy
sleep of a stranger in strange bedsheets
to bogus cardinal, robin trill
off-key, boisterous fake
crow caws, and at intervals
sounds that suggested the air brakes
of huge semis flinging themselves downhill.
In Greensboro, mockingbird capital
of the South, en route to teach a class
in prosody, I meet Delia
encumbered with stopwatch,
graph paper and tape recorder,
capturing the mid-fall melodies
of flocks of year-round mockers.
On a campus hedged with chinaberry trees,
while I am saying poems, she collects
arpeggios, engine music
and vaguely flatted masterpieces.
Delia knows that something good will come
from storing up these plainly suited clones’
repertoires each weekday
and I too haltingly assay
our single-minded still imperfect song.
We eulogize autumn, we long
for a better world, we seek to deliver
a purer hemidemisemiquaver,
the one brief note that says we mean,
roughshod and winged, to last forever.

True Sadhu:
~ Yoga
Was watching your mind
Body and Speech

At all times

Yoga was practiced at all times

Throughout the day

The Body was seen as 
The main obstacle

To Human happiness

Or Liberation

Austerities were practiced

To show yourself and others

Your mastery over your body

Attachment to the body was 

Obviously drinking wine,

Eating hamburgers before

Or after Yoga practice

Would not make sense 

To a 

True Sadhu
Or practitioner.

I see the poet as someone who has made a commitment not just to self-expression, but to an active and an eager listening to the world and the voices outside of the self. The poet is willing to be changed by the things that language can reveal—about who we are, how we live, what our impact upon the world and one another is.
– Tracy K. Smith

Criticism and skepticism are not always a sign of intelligence .
– C. G. Jung

Hatred can rot a person’s wisdom and conscience. An enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a country’s advance toward freedom and democracy.
– Liu Xiaobo (Artist, dissident, Nobel Laureate)

A justly celebrated ‘prose poem’ from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick:
“The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic…”

We are healed by those we reject.
– Jean Vanier

Follow the shining ones, the wise, the awakened, the loving, for they know how to forbear. Whoever follows those who follow the way discovers his family, and is filled with joy. Follow them, as the moon follows the path of the stars. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of the way.
– Buddha, The Dhammapada

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again
– Alexander Pope

The way
to study true zen
is not verbal. Just open
yourself and give up everything.
Whatever happens, study closely…

and see what you find out.

This is the fundamental

– Shunryu Suzuki

The Way up the Mountain
1. Pull up the vines that hide the truth.

2. Disentangle your feet.

3. Take the path to the highest point….
4. See the view.
– Karen Maezen Miller

Being passionate about life tends to change your vibration from one of resistance and defense to one of attraction and receptivity. When you love life, life loves you back- so when you dive into it with exuberance and joy, life will reach out and enthusiastically embrace you. The more you love life by fully engaging in what feeds your soul, the more you spread that love around, and in doing so you heal yourself and others.
– Sonia Choquette

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.
– William Shakespeare

When we lose people, friendships, health, or we’re dispossessed from a place we loved, we may think it’s a temporary process of mourning that we are in. But maybe loss shows us some basic truth about who we are: we are tied to others and to place. Those bonds form us. It’s not like there is an ‘I’ that exists over here and a ‘you’ over there somewhere. When I lose you, I lose me too. Grief challenges the very notion that we are separate selves. We do not always succeed at be…ing whole. The faces of others, the touch and smell of them, our memories of places we have lived and loved – all of this undoes us. It should. Falling down is necessary for waking up to our shared humanity.
– Michael Stone

What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us.
– Georges Perec

The inner journey is as individual as our thumbprint. We need to guide others on their way and never impose our way upon them.
– Morton T. Kelsey

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.
– Anne Frank

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 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

The peace, it is there; it grows from her soil.
A few feet beneath her surface, all is always
perfectly calm.
What does she know of any storms then? What
does she hear of any cries of this world, or is…
in any way startled by fear?
Once in a while something stirs a thirst she
had forgotten about;
a divine rain falls on her hills and settles in a
beautiful valley;
there, life’s companion, water, gently reaches
down and touches, awakens her heart.
She begins to reach up with all her strength,
feeling a glorious destiny awaits,
and she keeps stretching out her arms until
they become a sky again and all that is
luminous in it.
Her love shelters then from all angles, above,
below…and to our sides.
Yes, it shelters us, any heart, like an earth,
that knows God.
The peace is always there, just beneath a
particle of our surface.
– Hafiz

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale ’til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Denise Levertov: “A partial definition, then, of organic poetry might be that it is a method of apperception, i.e., of recognizing what we per­ceive, and is based on an intuition of an order, a form beyond forms, in which forms partake, and of which man’s creative works are analogies, resemblances, natural allegories. Such po­etry is exploratory.”

Everywhere I look, I see people who don’t want to be here. They don’t want to die, exactly, but they don’t want to be here. And its not only apparent in their addictive patterns, its apparent in very subtle ways: self-distractive tendencies, shallowing of breath and perspective, perpetual positivity, the transcendence bypass etc. There are billions of ways to leave the moment. And so I wonder, what has to happen before we can co-create a world that invites us to be here, truly here? And how can we construct that world if we have already left it? Where is the bridge back to here?
– Jeff Brown

In creative work — creative work of all kinds — those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary.
– Mary Oliver

The planet is
erupting with
The earth is writhing in pain.
Feel her suffering in your blood, your bowels, and…

you will know what you are for.

Taste compassion for the sacrificed,

the slaughtered and

you will love like the Milky Way.
Shatter your old ways, and
show me how
your soul blushes
alive with arousal.
This is what you are for.
Be an unpopular harbinger,
an endangered one;
a tender, firmly sprouted
sentinel of
the rhizome of archaic revival.
Do not take a seat.
She is ready for you.
The soul of the world
will see you now.
What have you come to give her?
– Melissa La Flamme

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I consider myself extremely lucky because I get up every morning with a song in my heart.
– Paul Muldoon

Archetype is a term that is both misunderstood and abused. An archetype is not some kind of absolute fixed or ideal form of being, it is a fluid and evolving narrative structure that allows us to describe reality. In some sense, it you can’t go beyond it, it is composed of strict limits. It is the parameters of fate, the larger blueprints which shape us. At the same time, drawing those delineations, outlining a narrative structure creates infinite possibly variation and potential. Archetypes are like musical structures. Once there are rules to the archetypal game, you can begin to play. You can only be free from within the archetype, or the mandala, or the cosmic city, or however you want to describe the underlying metaphysical structure.

… while we circle around the same themes, each exploration reveals a deeper and more refined layer of the story. There is a basic simplicity to the narrative, but it can be told in infinite ways, as long as we don’t lose the thread. And even if you diverged from the story and went into avant guard nether regions, the main path would still be your reference—the archetype would still haunt you. That that is why there can be dissonance and contrast – a counterpoint to harmony. If you destroy the archetype completely you have nothing but white noise. But that doesn’t mean you can go off the main track or fall down into various rabbit holes. In fact, that is also part of the structure of the archetype.
– Andrew Sweeny

I’m not humming the blues
cause I’m sad or depressed

The blues is an underground river
where my soul swims
beneath the din and noise of politics
and the death by 1000 cuts
that bleeds out America’s heart

No, I’m not humming the blues
cause I’m down or out

I simply love the low tones
and rarely trust the warblers
selling wares made of gold and lucre
that have little currency in the commerce of this man’s heart
– David Bedrick

…because the dove is the only one that did not boast, Noah makes the bird his messenger. Commenting that there are more doves in the world today than there are ferocious beasts, Singers says, ‘The dove lives happily without fighting. It is the bird of peace.’

How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?” I carried Meno’s question around with me for years and then, when everything was going wrong, friends came bearing stories, one after another, and they seemed to provide, if not answers, at least milestones and signposts. Out of the blue, May sent me a long passage by Virginia Woolf she’d copied in round black letters on thick unlined paper. It was about a mother and wife alone at the end of the day: “For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of – to think; well not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless . . . Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless.”

That passage from To the Lighthouse echoed something of Woolf’s I already knew, her essay about walking that declared, “As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed the self our friends know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one’s room . . . Into each of these lives one could penetrate a little way, far enough to give one the illusion that one is not tethered to a single mind, but can put on briefly for a few minutes the bodies and minds of others.
– Rebecca Solnit

Everything you didn’t understand
Made you what you are. Strangers
Whose eye you caught on the street
Studying you. Perhaps they were all-seeing
Illuminati? They knew what you didn’t,
And left you troubled like a strange dream.

Not even the light stayed the same.
Where did all that hard glare come from?
And the scent, as if mythical beings
Were being groomed and fed stalks of hay
On these roofs drifting among the evening clouds.

You didn’t understand a thing!
You loved the crowds at the end of the day
That brought you so many mysteries.
There was always someone you were meant to meet
Who for some reason wasn’t waiting.
Or perhaps they were? But not here, friend.

You should have crossed the street
And followed that obviously demented woman
With the long streak of blood-red hair
Which the sky took up like a distant cry.
– Charles Simic

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

There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
 – Wendell Berry

Even in childhood I watched the hours flow, independent of any reference, any action, any event, the disjunction of time from what was not itself, its autonomous existence, its special status, its empire, its tyranny. I remember quite clearly that afternoon when, for the first time, confronting the empty universe, I was no more than a passage of moments reluctant to go on playing their proper parts. Time was coming unstuck from being – at my expense.
– Emil Cioran

A zoologist who observed gorillas in their native habitat was amazed by the uniformity of their life and their vast idleness. Hours and hours without doing anything. Was boredom unknown to them? This is indeed a question raised by a human, a busy ape. Far from fleeing monotony, animals crave it, and what they most dread is to see it end. For it ends, only to be replaced by fear, the cause of all activity. Inaction is divine; yet it is against inaction that man has rebelled. Man alone, in nature, is incapable of enduring monotony, man alone wants something to happen at all costs – something, anything . . . Thereby he shows himself unworthy of his ancestor: the need for novelty is the characteristic of an alienated gorilla.
– Emil Cioran

Though stingy, the life force is not an absolute miser, and occasionally it allows us to experience a fuller, broader, deeper consciousness. These are our poetic and mystical experiences, the “all is good” feeling that brings a sense of “absurd affirmation.” For some reason, during them, our blinders are temporarily removed and reality is let in. Our doors of perception are opened, but only for a moment. Then they shut again. Yet these moments tell us that reality is not meaningless. In fact it is dripping with meaning, so much meaning that if we experienced it in full, we would most likely blow a psychic fuse; any number of accounts of mystical experiences suggest this. This tells us two things. One is that the world we perceive most of the time is not the world as it really is, but a highly edited version of it. The second is that our doors of perception are not permanently locked. They can open. The question then becomes, how can we open them just enough to allow more reality into consciousness, so we are not taken in by gloomy pronouncements about its meaninglessness, but not so much that we are overwhelmed by it?
– Gary Lachman, Beyond the Robot

Meditation is another dimension of natural beauty. People talk about appreciating natural beauty – climbing mountains, seeing giraffes and tigers in Africa, and all sorts of things. But nobody seems to appreciate this kind of natural beauty of ourselves. This is actually far more beautiful than flora and fauna, far more fantastic, far more painful and colorful and delightful.
– Chögyam Trungpa, Glimpses of Abhidharma

Maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness. If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.
– Alain de Botton

I had reached the stage in life where I identified with cynical villains in a book…I was fifteen years older. But she was smarter.
– Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Are the days of winter sunshine just as sad for you, too? When it is misty, in the evenings, and I am out walking by myself, it seems to me that the rain is falling through my heart and causing it to crumble into ruins.
– Gustave Flaubert

In a certain sense the past is far more real, or at any rate more stable, more resilient than the present. The present slips and vanishes like sand between the fingers, acquiring material weight, only in its recollection.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Your dream
my mind.
– Anne Sexton

I know there is a moment when sound slips down the torn lining of itself into silence, is carried unheard and secret in its own pocket. But the crimson birds could find no such escape, no means of slipping beyond themselves between the cracks of color and song to a white undiscovered silence.
– Janet Frame

…I feel my past like an unbearable weight. I feel that it interferes with my present life, that it must be the case for this withdrawal, this closing the doors.
– Anaïs Nin

Listen. This is the noise of myth. It makes
the same sound as shadow. Can you hear it?
– Eavan Boland

[T]hey pause before going in for the night.
They look at the trees and disappearing sky.
What are their thoughts? All the ways
it might have been, all the ways it is.
– Stephen Dobyns

Environmental change is often too gradual to register in people’s consciousness, but photographs can make this change visible and help people explore ‘past scenarios’ as a way of opening up conversations about ‘future prospects.’
– Stephen Daniels and Georgina Endfield

Above all, I could feel in my dream something long forgotten, something that had not happened to me for a long time—the feeling that it was not a dream but real. It is such a powerful sensation that a wave of sadness fills your soul, of pity for yourself, […], as it were an aesthetic way of seeing your own life. When you feel compassion for yourself in that way, it is as if your pain were someone else’s, and you are looking at it from outside, weighing it up, and you are beyond the bounds of what used to be your life.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky …
– D. G. Rossetti

I said, ‘I’ll try to remember as much
As a man caught in Time cannot forget,’
For I carried a headful of summer
– Robert Penn Warren, Far West Once

When I say to you,
I have seen the black floor of the ocean,
you should know better
than to believe me in that moment.
My heart was broken, then,
and my arms were no good
at all. These words are what was left
of my breath. I am
so very tired of time and of waiting
for nothing to change.
– Paul Guest

For day has its loneliness too.
– Robert Penn Warren

The heart grows brutal from feeding on fantasies.
– Robert Pinsky

Blue is the insides of something mysterious and lonely. I’d look at fish and birds, thinking the sky and water colored them. The first abyss is blue. An artist must go beyond the mercy of satin or water–from a gutty hue to that which is close to royal purple. All seasons and blossoms inbetween. Lavender. Theatrical and outrageous electric. Almost gray. True and false blue. Water and oil. The gas jet breathing in oblivion. The unstruck match. The blue of absence. The blue of deep presence. The insides of something perfect.
– Yusef Komunyakaa

It was only a bird call at evening, unindentified,
As I came from the spring with water, across the rocky back-pasture;
But so still I stood sky above was not stiller than sky in pail-water.
Years pass, all places and faces fade, some people have died,
And I stand in a far land, the evening still, and am at last sure
That I miss more that stillness at bird-call than some things that were to fail later.
– Robert Penn Warren

I’m thinking about people and trees and how I wish I could be silent more, be more tree than anything else, less clumsy and loud, less crow, more cool white pine, and how it’s hard not to always want something else, not just to let the savage grass grow.
– Ada Limón

You need this love to be grounded, until there is no difference between you and your love, or what you love or what you are. It’s just the one thing.
– Leonard Cohen

My old teacher told me that the older you get and the lonelier you get, the deeper is your need for love. Like everyone else, I have looked for such deep love. And as you get older, you need this love to be grounded, until there is no difference between you and your love, or what you love or what you are. It’s just the one thing.
– Leonard Cohen


There is the way of gentleness
And the way of the sword.

The way of the sword
Belittles, provokes, judges, mocks
in its search for Truth.

For those who are ready,
The sword will wake them instantly
from their slumber.

But many have been hurt enough by swords
And they will close up even more tightly.

Where is the swordsman
You would trust with your beloved’s life?

In the wrong hands,
Swords only deepens the devastation.

The way of gentleness, however,
Takes its sweet time. It does not rush.
It stays close. Gets under your skin.
Waits, until you feel safe to open.

Then kills you softly.
Without you even noticing.

The modern sword often misses its target,
And leaves its victim paralysed
From the neck down.

But this ancient gentleness
gets everyone in the end.

– Jeff Foster


Have you ever woken up, after a loss,
and gone outside, and found there such a mist
of morning—of mourning—that you thought you
were somewhere else, that the loss wasn’t lost,
and then you heard a voice from far away
whisper your name, then, vocative, pierce through
the mist and guide you back to what you knew
once, where you were, how things had been? You toss
left, toss right, and wake up again, only
to find there is no mist, no voice, no day,
there is no Is, because there is no We
anymore? You have? I have too, and say
I’m your friend, even if we’ve never met,
here to help you forget, and not forget.
– James B. Nicola

Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world… But with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.
– Chief Dan George

If you think you can make up for something later, correct it later, resurrect it later, then you have not understood impermanence and death.
If compassion and wisdom are a theory, something only delicious and enjoyed read, thought and spoken of, but not an energetic experience within the body, then you are not practising compassion and wisdom.
If you have a public face that differs from your private face, you are living dualistically and have not parted from ignorance.
If you are incongruent- saying one thing but doing another- you are not practising dharma.
Guru Rinpoche talked about his care and responsibility being as refined as barley flour, even though his view was vast as the sky.
There is no Dzogchen practice without taking personal responsibility.
If you think that Guru Devotion abdicates you from cleaning up the mess of your own mind and abdicates you from making choices, you have not understood karma or devotion.
If you are reifying a certain ‘lineage’ over another, you are certainly not practising that lineage but simply admiring it from the shore- you are not in its oceanic reality.
No matter how ‘spiritual’ you are, if it is not worked through the body it lacks integrity.
If you are addicted to drama you are not practising Dharma. If you cannot see your addiction to drama through your thoughts, words and life then how can you proceed?
If you propound dharma and yet your ‘personal life’ is a mess and you hide that from others, including teachers, you are a hypocrite.
A title is not a marker of genuine realisation. Retreats are not a marker of realisation. Book learning and memory are not a marker of realisation. Staying strictly to rules is not a marker of realisation.
Kindness is not about being nice to anyone.
– Belle Heywood

Fuck ‘wellness.’ Wellness is capitalism trying to sell you back the sanity it stole from you.
– Gesshin Greenwood

I am Lakota!
Looking at money man,
Diggin’ the deadly quotas,
Out of balance,
Out of hand
We want the land!
Lay down the reeking ore!
Don’t you hear the shrieking in the trees?
Everywhere you touch the earth, she’s sore
Every time you skin her all things weep
Your money mocks us
Restitution, what good can it do?
Kenneled in metered boxes
Red dogs in debt to you
I am Lakota!
Fighting among ourselves
All we can say with one whole heart
Is we won’t sell,
No we’ll never sell
We want the land!
The lonely coyote calls
In the woodlands, footprints of the deer
In the barrooms, poor drunk bastard falls
In the courtrooms, deaf ears, sixty years
You think we’re sleeping–but
Quietly like rattlesnakes and stars
We have seen the trampled rainbows
In the smoke of cars
I am Lakota
Sun pity me
I am Lakota
Moon pity me
I am Lakota
Shadows stretching
Oh pity me
I am Lakota
Grass pity me
I am Lakota
Rocks pity me
I am Lakota
Standing water
Oh pity me
I am Lakota!
Standing on sacred land
We never sold these Black Hills
To the missile-heads,
To the power plants
We want the land!
The bullet and the fence, broke Lakota
The black coats and the booze, broke Lakota
Courts that circumvent, choke Lakota
Nothing left to lose
Tell me grandfather
You spoke the fur and feather tongues,
Do you hear the whimpering waters
When the tractors come?
Sun pity me
Mother earth
Moon pity me
Father sky
Stretching on the forest floor
Mother earth
Oh pity me
Father sky
Grass pity me
Mother earth
Rocks pity me
Father sky
Standing in a sacred manner
Mother earth
Oh pity me.
– Joni Mitchell

The Kagyu forefathers said that listening, contemplation and meditation are the way to tame a rough and unruly mind,” the Karmapa told the monks present. “Tibetan nomads have a way to make yak hide supple. First they steep it in water, then they rub butter into it, then they rub it again and again with their hands. Likewise, for our minds, listening is like the water, contemplation is like the butter, and meditation is like rubbing the hide again and again. The result should be that our minds become less rough and suppler. If our minds are becoming tamer and more malleable, it is a sign that our listening, contemplation and meditation is being done effectively.
– the Karmapa speaking at the conclusion of his teachings on ‘100 Short Instructions’ by Mikyo Dorje

The more we tap into our bodies and begin to listen to our bodies, the more we start to realize that a lot of what goes around in this culture is actually insane. Some of the indigenous teachers I’ve worked with have said to me, “modern culture is in a state of social-psychosis” – meaning that our version of reality is completely out of touch with what’s really going on in our selves, in our relationships, in our world.
So, a very important part of the work is to question a lot of things we assume are true. Humans cannot integrate experience that is inconsistent with their belief system. The only way they can do it is by changing what they believe. In Tibetan Buddhism this is called developing the view, and what it means is that we are going to be considering different ways of considering our world, ourselves, how we go about things, and what it means to be human.
– Reggie Ray

That is what I am, pursuit of the wind.
– Marguerite Duras

It was just the same long summer, always, and everything lived and grew at its own pace.
– Tove Jansson

Once in the west I lay down dying
to see something other than the dying stars
so singularly clear, so unassailably there,
they made me reach for something other.
– Christian Wiman

My heart, sometimes singing in the afternoon, the most haunting song of solitude.
– John Geddes

Things Seem Strong
by Jane Hirshfield
Things seem strong.
Houses, trees, trucks—a chair, even.
A table.
You don’t expect one to break.
No, it takes a hammer to break one,
a war, a saw, an earthquake.
Troy after Troy after Troy seemed strong
to those living around and in them.
Nine Troys were strong,
each trembling under the other.
When the ground floods
and the fire ants leave their strong city,
they link legs and form a raft, and float, and live,
and begin again elsewhere.
Strong, your life’s wish
to continue linking arms with life’s eye blink, life’s tear well,
life’s hammering of copper sheets and planing of Port Orford cedar,
life’s joke of the knock-knock.
Knock, knock. Who’s there?
I am.
I am who?
That first and last question.
Who once dressed in footed pajamas,
who once was smothered in kisses.
Who seemed so strong
I could not imagine your mouth would ever come to stop asking.

We do compose a soul for ourselves, an inner biography that has this grace of selection.
– Les Murray

Being gay gave a particular edge to my politics, a way of taking politics personally.
– Tony Kushner

Sometimes I think a writer should make up his mind whether he’s going to be a writer or a reader.
– Jessamyn West

I no longer have nightmares at all. Literature has appeased my anxieties.
– Jorge Semprún

A story can be like a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.
– Lorrie Moore

You have to use your imagination a lot.
– Luc Sante

A book can be something of a metaphor for the human body—it has a face, it has a spine.
– Chris Ware

Personality is socially constructed, genetically constructed, linguistically constructed.
– Jonathan Franzen

To be a poet is to be in direct communication with every part of the world’s action.
– J.H. Prynne

The negative ideas of your mind have to be released, not repressed by positive ideas. You have to create a consciousness which is neither positive nor negative. That will be the pure consciousness. In that pure consciousness you will live the most natural and blissful life… You don’t like a person, you don’t like many things; you don’t like yourself, you don’t like the situation you are in. All this garbage goes on collecting in the unconscious, and on the surface a hypocrite is born, who says, “I love everybody, love is the key to blissfulness.” But you don’t see any bliss in that person’s life. He is holding the whole of hell within himself. He can deceive others, and if he goes on deceiving long enough, he can deceive himself too. But it won’t be a change. It is simply wasting life – which is immensely valuable because you cannot get it back. Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy – to give it the right name. When you are feeling like crying, it teaches you to sing. You can manage if you try, but those repressed tears will come out at some point, in some situation. There is a limitation to repression. And the song that you were singing was absolutely meaningless; you were not feeling it, it was not born out of your heart.
– Osho

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.

Conventional knowledge is death
to our souls, and it is not really ours.
We must become ignorant
of what we’ve been taught,
and be, instead, bewildered…
Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.
I have tried to prudent planning
long enough. From now
on, I’ll be mad.
– Rumi

I have only now realized that something end- less has broken ground in me, and I have no choice but to live and love until it grows me like a tree.
– Mark Nepo

Tell the story that’s been growing in your heart, the characters you can’t keep out of your head, the tale story that speaks to you, that pops into your head during your daily commute, that wakes you up in the morning.
– Jennifer Weiner

A boy child
Lost in the woods
But with magical powers
At his fingertips

Speaking to forest creatures wild

And they gather around you

The mighty and the mild

From lions to the deer and the antelope

You a mysterious entity


Were you misunderstood maybe

Or held in awe?

The silent brooding druid of the woods

An enchanted being


Made a pact with the

Lady of the Lake

A wondrous being

”Give Arthur the Excalibur 
And I will forever

Walk this way

Each lonely evening

And share a silent

Communion with you”

”And if he should die in battle

Conquered at last

Then, I promise you

Your sword I will return”

And thus

In the fading shades of an evening

When Authur wounded in battle lay dying

Merlin honoured the promise

And Arthur with life slowly ebbing

Stumbled to the lake

Touched the cool waters and whispered

”Hail to thee
Beautiful being

Here is your gift

The majestic and mighty


And your hand reached out

From the murky depths of the lake

And caught hold of the sword

While evening sunlight glinted

And turned Excalibur

Into burnished gold…

It’s only a temporary turbulence I’m setting myself against. I’m in line with the big flow.
– Gary Snyder

The lure of the distant is deceptive. Do not discount your own place and hour. The great opportunity is where you are now.
– John Burroughs

There is something that happens online, which is nothing new, but has intensified of late: a kind of collective editing process between people who communicate by text. This can be both particularly deadly and damaging, and have great potential for learning.
The danger lurks in the shadow of the collective. When we put our raw thoughts and emotions out into the social sphere, there is feedback: a flurry of support, outrage, affection, complaint — love and hate speech. This could make us entirely cowed as human beings, and terrified to express our individuality; it could progressively turn us into cowards, cowed before social judgment, never raising our voices at all above the mob. Or conversely, we could become aggressively reactionary, constantly attacking and criticizing wily-nily. It’s like we have brought the inquisition into our most intimate space. People are afraid to speak their minds, even if they are talking all the time. On the hand, social networks teach us pretty fast what we should never say in a larger social context.
Feedback on social media, if it is properly filtered, could help us to communicate better, and even how to write, to a certain extent. We don’t need to go to writing workshops anymore if we have intelligent friends, for they will spontaneously correct us. Social networks, for better and worse, will increasingly influence how we speak and present ourselves, as video becomes omnipresent. This is already happening at lightening speed, and will lead to more madness, as chaos and alienation that arises from this very imposing form communication. However, listening and watching to people speak may be even more natural to us as a species than reading, as it is more ancient and primordial, and video learning may replace classrooms soon. Perhaps in the future, talking books will be the dominant form. These talking books will spontaneously update themselves, until they have become perfectly crystalized forms of spontaneous expression.
On the other hand, we don’t want to drink the utopian Kool-aid. The dangers are monumental and the pathologies will be legion. There is a great battle coming and every Samurai will soon be employed.
– Andrew Sweeney

America has a history of utopian experiments. We should never give up our ideal of a perfect human community.
– Thomas Moore

Waking today
just before winter
when I try to name the color of grasses,
how I feel of their beauty,
there is no word.
I think of the time before there were
when you would know morning mist
by the feel
of your loved one’s skin and hair,
and when someone came from the forest
of dry leaves
you would know by their scent
even if they carried no wood.
Or the heat of their body skin in summer.
Or it they came the winding way
down from the mountains
they would be covered in cloud
returning to the fold
or if they had gone farther, to the ocean,
you’d know them by their far-seeing eyes,
and when some travelers return
and are shining with light
you know, without saying, that they
have been
in touch with other worlds.
I have no wealth to speak of
other than this,
all this, just to praise the dry grasses
and their color that can’t be spoken
in words.
– Linda Hogan

If you want to catch songs you gotta start thinking like one. And making yourself an interesting place for them to land like birds and insects.
– Tom Waits

All Questions Answered
A man approached the Buddha and asked, “Venerable Sir, how come my mind constantly wanders and yours does not? How come I indulge in gossip and back-biting and you don’t? How come I don’t have patience or compassion for others, while you have? I am filled with such questions. Please guide me.”
The Buddha replied, “Your questions are good, however it appears to me that in twenty four hours you will die.”
The man was shocked to hear this. He immediately got up, ready to leave.
The Buddha asked, “What happened? You came with such enthusiasm and now you seemly utterly dismayed.”
The man said, “Sir, my mother told me that your words are true and are to be held in high regard. Please let me go so that I may meet my family members, friends and others for the last time before I die.”
The Buddha said, “But there are still twenty four hours. Sit, we will talk more.”
The man said, “Sir, please excuse me. I must meet my loved ones before I die.”
So he left and went home. He met his mother and started crying. The word spread. His friends came; other relatives came; neighbors came. Everyone was crying with him. Time flew.
He was busy either crying or counting the hours. When only three hours were left, he got into bed and lay down. Although death had not yet arrived, he was already kind of dead.
When only an hour was left, the Buddha walked in and said to him, “Why are you lying down with closed eyes? Death is still an hour away. That’s a lot of time. Get up, let us talk.”
He replied, “Sir, what is there now to talk about? Please let me die peacefully.”
The Buddha said, “There is still time. Our talk will get over before then.”
“Okay, Sir. Say what you have to say.”
The Buddha asked, “In the past twenty four hours, did your mind wander and think about inconsequential things?”
“How could I think of meaningless things? I was constantly focused on death.”
“In the past twenty four hours, did you think or speak ill of anyone?”
“How could I do that? I was all the time preoccupied with death.”
“In the past twenty four hours, were you mean or hurtful towards anyone?”
“Sir, how can you even ask that? I was only thinking of death, nothing else mattered.”
Finally the Buddha said, “Do not worry. This was a way of teaching you. The truth is we are dying each moment, not just in twenty four hours. No one knows when their time will be up, yet we are inevitably racing towards death. Understanding this truth can be very liberating. All the questions you asked me have been spontaneously answered because of the heightened awareness of death you experienced in these twenty four hours. The difference between you and me is that you were aware of death for a few hours, I am aware of it as a living reality each moment.”

We cover ourselves when we sleep with a blanket, comforter, or quilt. Since we are warm-blooded, we generate our own heat, but we conserve and regulate that with the help of clothes and bedcovers.
Please consider the blanket for a moment. It is soft, so it accepts anyone. It has no muscle, so it never moves by itself. It needs nothing extra to do its job. Merely by its presence, it performs its job admirably.
In that, isn’t it perfect in its Tao? And in that, could we not be the same? Could we be soft and accept everyone? Could we never buck against our place in life? And could we fulfill everything needed merely by being ourselves?
– Deng Ming-Dao

Oh! To be an ocean of abyssal silence that laps at the shores of the unknown with little word-wave-ripples, cooing the infinite with sacred hymns and poetry.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window.
– Charles Baudelaire

ANGER by David Whyte
is the deepest form of care, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt.
Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger points toward the purest form of compassion, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.
What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.
What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our own inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body or identity or voice, or way of life to hold it.
What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of our caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.
Our anger breaks to the surface most often through our feeling there is something profoundly wrong with this powerlessness and vulnerability; anger too often finds its voice strangely, through our incoherence and through our inability to speak, but anger in its pure state is the measure of the way we are implicated in the world and made vulnerable through love in all its specifics: a daughter, a house, a family, an enterprise, a land or a colleague.
Anger turns to violence and violent speech when the mind refuses to countenance the vulnerability of the body in its love for all these outer things – we are often abused or have been abused by those who love us but have no vehicle to carry its understanding, who have no outer emblems of their inner care or even their own wanting to be wanted. Lacking any outer vehicle for the expression of this inner rawness they are simply overwhelmed by the elemental nature of love’s vulnerability. In their helplessness they turn their violence on the very people who are the outer representation of this inner lack of control.
But anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here, it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it.
What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete and absolute mirror-opposite of its true internal essence.

From “Standing at the Edge”
Exchanging Self with Other
I have found the practice of “exchanging self with other” to be of great support in deepening respect, and of nurturing wisdom and strengthening resilience when subjected to disrespect.
This practice was outlined by Shantideva, the eighth century Indian Buddhist monk, who wrote “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.”
We begin by first recalling our aspiration to be of benefit to others, and that every single being wants to be free of suffering.
Then we honestly consider how our own selfishness and self-cherishing have not brought us real happiness. What has nourished our well-being has been respecting, loving, and caring for others.
Looking deeply, we should also see that everything that benefits us comes from others, whether our body, the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the house we live in, even the air we breathe.
Then, it is important to understand that from one point of view, there is no difference between self and other, and that all beings and things are totally interdependent and worthy of respect and care.
Although for most of us it is usually ourselves that we are focusing on, now we focus our attention and love on another.
So, for this practice of exchanging our self-cherishing to cherishing others, bring to mind the presence of someone who is suffering. Imagine that you are this person, living their life, enduring their difficulties.
Imagine their suffering as dark smoke and breathe it in. On the outbreath, send all of your good qualities to this one.
After some time has passed doing this practice, return to your own vast heart and let yourself rest in unconditioned presence.
End the practice by dedicating the merit to the wellbeing of others.
This practice is a powerful way for us to cultivate respect for others.
– Joan Halifax

The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.
– Carl Gustav Jung

We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.
– Hildegard of Bingen

It has been my experience that the one that families call the “crazy one” is often the sane one. This is particularly true in very dysfunctional families where ideas of healthy functioning are turned upside down. In these families, members often repress their authentic feelings and turn against anyone who reminds them of their unresolved issues and patterns. As a result, the truth-speakers, the ones who refuse to contain their feelings, those who challenge and humanize the toxic status quo, are often scapegoated and vilified, made to feel crazy by those who lack the courage and insight to see beyond the family’s madness. If you have been labeled the ‘crazy one’, take heart. You are truly not alone. Most great creators and paradigm shifters were met with fiery resistance by those afraid to grow. Whatever you do, do not allow your voice to fade away in the face of their messaging. Your voice, your vision, your ways of being, live at the heart of your unique soul’s journey and are the key to collective transformation. No one has the right to bury them under a bushel of shame. No one! And remember- what is crazy to an unconscious person is often brilliantly sane to one who is awakening. Without you, we are lost. Blessed be the ‘crazy’ ones!

Each one of us is responsible for ALL of humankind. We need to think of each other as true brothers and sisters, and to be concerned with each other’s welfare. We must seek to loosen the suffering of others. Rather than working solely to acquire wealth, we need to do something meaningful, something seriously directed toward the welfare of humanity as a whole.”

But you can’t be bored, if you get bored we all get bored, if we all get bored and tired we all give it up, then the world falls down and dies!
– Jack Kerouac

In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
glimmering in fugitive light.
– John O’Donohue

The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.
– Barbara Brown Taylor

It is said that the difference between buddhas and sentient beings is like the difference between the narrowness and the openness of space. Sentient beings are like the space held within a tightly closed fist, while buddhas are fully open, all-encompassing.
– Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

We need an ego to function in the world, to carry out tasks, to get us to work on time, to do the laundry, and to master new information. But we have a tendency to overvalue its reality, obscuring a more expansive view of the kinds of connection of which we are capable. In Buddhism, we must surrender the ego so that we can feel our connection to the universe. We do not move toward greater separation and individuation in this view; we move toward love and death.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.
– Marcus J. Borg

Hang yourself, poet, in your own words.
Otherwise, you are dead.
– Langston Hughes

Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City.
– Marmee, Little Women

Monastics and hippies and poets… we’re deliberately irrelevant.
– Thomas Merton

Buddha’s Teaching:
Dear ones..
There are 2 ways to become a noble one..
1. Keep in mind who helped you.

2. Help them back.

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
– Joan Didion

I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.
– Joan Didion

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

For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment.
– Ernest Hemingway

things. that should be asked
often. in every type. of
relationship :
how is your heart.
is your breath happy. here.
do you feel free.
– nayyirah waheed

Learn your theories well but put them aside when you confront the mystery of the living soul.
– Carl Jung

my epitaphs and a good poem about roofs.
by hune margulies.

my walk has ceased.
it was wonderful….
i leave behind seven poems.
three children.
and two memories.

i wanted love, fig trees and wine.
i am proud of my wants!
even if pride is shunned by the good cloths.
but i’m mostly proud of the amazing ways i have failed at them!
i so much wanted the sunsets at my childhood beach!

i have a good voice for singing.
if only my old couch would tell!
i dread to even imagine my life without that one song.
and the embrace of urgent loves.
and the fiddler on that rumpled roof.

poems and singings saved me.
but i was never sure of what.
i invented loves.
and i admit some hatreds too.
there are things of youth of which i wish not to speak.

because of needs i made many choices.
but i am at peace with my daring wants.
and i smile at all my errors.
and at my meager wins too.
spring nights are beautiful.

how many names do i deserve to herald?
that answer i may never know.
i made love too.
and i liked that.
and you.

i loved dissidents, dissenters and resisters.
i shared secrets and poems.
i offered my love grapefruits with brandy from latroun.
i still carry with me your nude picture.
a bit discolored by tears and sea salt.

i love breezes and can tell many stories about them.
like the spring one that brought me the taciturn smell of your body.
and the warm rains in the hills with fresh challah and za’atar.
i first learned about peace and love
from purple fireflies with wrinkled noses.

this is not a song of melancholy.
as the poet said: i regret nothing.
except for not celebrating my life enough.
so perhaps i do regret some things.
yes, there is abundance in every face.

this poem may seem too brief for an epitaph.
but please don’t get me wrong.
i made good friends with the autumn moons.
i took my heart with me everywhere.
and i will not forget the smiles i’ve seen.

– hune margulies, in search of lost betweens

Any man who has known real loves, real revolts, real desires, and real will knows quite well that he has no need of any outside guarantee to be sure of his goals; their certitude comes from his own drive.
– Simone de Beauvoir

She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal.
– Simone de Beauvoir

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

Blest power of sunshine! – genial day,
What balm, what life is in thy ray!
– Thomas Moore

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
– Adrienne Rich​

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
– Edward Abbey

if we watch ourselves we are many people. All day long our field of consciousness is entered by autonomous complexes. If you can recognize them as such, you can steer them, either to keep them out of your system, or by going along with it and knowingly putting it aside again. But if you are possessed, so to speak, it means the complexes enter you involuntary and you act them out involuntary.
 – Maire Louise Von Franz

I guess you are kind of curious as to who I am, but I am one of those who do not have a regular name. My name depends on you. Just call me whatever is in your mind.
If you are thinking about something that happened a long time ago: Somebody asked you a question and you did not know the answer.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was raining very hard.
That is my name.
Or somebody wanted you to do something. You did it. Then they told you what you did was wrong – “Sorry for the mistake,” – and you had to do something else.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was a game you played when you were a child or something that came idly into your mind when you were old and sitting in a chair near the window.
That is my name.
Or you walked someplace. There were flowers all around.
That is my name.
Perhaps you stared into a river. There was somebody near who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.
That is my name.
Or you heard someone calling from a great distance. Their voice was almost an echo.
That is my name.
Perhaps you were lying in bed, almost ready to go to sleep and you laughed at something, a joke unto yourself, a good way to end the day.
That is my name.
Or you were eating something good and for a second forgot what you were eating, but still went on, knowing it was good.
That is my name.
Perhaps it was around midnight and the fire tolled like a bell inside the stove.
That is my name.
Or you felt bad when she said that thing to you. She could have told it to someone else: Somebody who was more familiar with her problems.
That is my name.
 – Richard Brautigan, In Watermelon Sugar

Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort, the trifling feeling of escape experienced at a masked ball. He distances himself from that which he feels and sees. He invents. He transfigures. He mythifies. He creates. He fancies himself an artist. He imitates, in his small way, the painters he claims are mad.
 – Jean Cocteau

Place memory was encoded and sedimented or consolidated, for individuals and their groups, through iterative and repetitive activity. Working and walking the land brought deep embodied familiarity not only with particular places but also with the events and stories associated with them at a fine-grained level that may not be easy for many of us to grasp. Through constantly acting in and on the land, early modern people were ‘reading, monitoring and remembering change in the local world down to its most precise details.’
– Andy Wood

All day the blanket snapped and swelled
on the line, roused by a hot spring wind….
From there it witnessed the first sparrow,
early flies lifting their sticky feet,
and a green haze on the south-sloping hills.
Clouds rose over the mountain….At dusk
I took the blanket in, and we slept,
restless, under its fragrant weight.
– Jane Kenyon

There must be a map
in the lush, ever-vernal grace of language
that might help us emerge from the gloom,
though I can’t hear it now. Old sounds: shrouded
whispers, in tongues, the hum between love
and the battered earth’s bruised chorus.
– Sidney Wade

I wrote a series of apologies to a landscape. The geums turned to seed clusters. The face of the stream bank crept into shadow. We avoided trading upon the exposed roots of trees. And walked through this transition as if our arms were streamers. Those things which changed became rocklings. Who will remember which days were exchanged for roots? Leaves may carry a message when circling the body. Sash ideogram.
– Laynie Brown

I feel it in my bones. This secret life
Whose language is the melancholy sound the heart makes
Beating against its cage—
– John Koethe

I searched for you […] every night as I lay sleeping.
– Alice Notley

Unlike our lives, which are as they are.
Unlike our imagined selves, which are as we’ll never become,
Star-like and shining,
Everyone looking up at, everyone pointing there, I there,
Masked and summering in,
                    each one a bright point, each one a dodged eclipse.
– Charles Wright

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

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

It’s hard to imagine a more “Buddhist” value than fighting for affordable universal healthcare. One of these days, may sanity prevail.
– Ethan Nichtern

Wer zur Quelle will, muss gegen den Strom schwimmen.

One who wishes to get to the source must swim against the current.
– Hermann Hesse

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

I had a great, great fear that I was bent on doing something for which I have no ability, and that took years and years to get rid of…that I was dedicating my life to something I was not fit for.
– Mavis Gallant

Dare not to criticize self, lift yourself up and set the boundaries for your worth. Speak kindly to self and hand your worries over to the wind,if you are here; you are successful already, start believing in your story, the destination will be meaningless if the journeys never been truly lived.
– Nikki Rowe

The world’s body is not our body,
although we’d have it so.
Our body’s not infinite, although
This afternoon, under the underwater slant-shine
Of sunlight and cloud shadow,
It almost seems that way in the wind,
a wind that comes
From a world away with its sweet breath and its tart tongue
And casts us loose, like a cloud,
Heaven-ravaged, blue pocket, small change for the hand.
– Charles Wright, Body and Soul

I used to think the power of words was inexhaustible,
That how we said the world
was how it was, and how it would be.
I used to imagine that word-sway and word-thunder
Would silence the Silence and all that,
That words were the Word,
That language could lead us inexplicably to grace,
As though it were geographical.
I used to think these things when I was young.
I still do.
– Charles Wright, Body and Soul

From the Intro to Robert Graves’ White Goddess:
My thesis is that the language of poetic myth anciently current in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was a magical language bound up with popular religious ceremonies in honour of the Moon-goddess, or Muse, some of them dating from the Old Stone Age, and that this remains die language of true poetry—’true’ in the nostalgic modern sense of ‘the unimprovable original, not a synthetic substitute’. The language was tam- pered with in late Minoan times when invaders from Central Asia began to substitute patrilinear for matrilinear institutions and remodel or falsify the myths to justify the social changes. Then came the early Greek philosophers who were strongly opposed to magical poetry as threatening their new religion of logic, and under their influence a rational poetic language (now called the Classical) was elaborated in honour of their patron Apollo and imposed on the world as the last word in spiritual illumination: a view that has prevailed practically ever since in European schools and universities, where myths are now studied only as quaint relics of the nursery age of mankind.

It is the mind itself that creates this whole delusion, but it is also the mind itself that can let the whole delusion collapse. Besides buddha nature, what else is there to be free from delusion? Buddha nature is the very basis for delusion. It is also that which dissolves the delusion. Please try carefully to understand this! This is something that you can understand!
– Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.
If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts
then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb!
If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves
then the goats would surely get to the Holy One before us!
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.

…I call it the loss of the sacred, which is incredibly tragic if you know how precious this substance of the sacred is, how precious it is to human beings, how precious it is to the planet. We are living in very toxic times, it’s jokingly called the post-truth era. The mystic and the Sufis have written a lot about the veils of distortion, and how to see through the veils of distortion, but they are more distorted than ever and it requires an extra special vigilance, attentiveness and mindfulness to stay true to one’s own deepest purpose in this minefield of exploitation, in this minefield of greed in which sadly, even a lot of spirituality has become polluted by profit and loss, by commercialism.
…we reclaim the sacred in our inner life through prayer, through meditation, through devotions, and in our outer life just through being present in the sacred that is all around us, that permeates everything, but for some reason there is this poison, and I deliberately call it poison, in our contemporary culture, that stops us from experiencing it, that veils us from what alone gives real meaning to life.
…This will be a multi-generational story, it won’t be fixed in the next five, 10, even 20 years, maybe in the next 200 years, but we have to be pioneers of consciousness, and this is something the mystic has always been. We push the frontiers of consciousness, we see what is possible within the human being, we dare to live a new story.
A new interview with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee on “Reconnecting with the World Soul” as part of KOSMOS LIVE PODCAST SERIES: Preparing for Profound Change.

signing off
as the day
seems to say
no one
really matters
and the only monuments
worth saving are carved
in stone, faces
defacing mountains
pitch dark is when
to really care
about someone
like everyone
is too much
save the soul
who finds a friend
on the street
true enough
to wipe the tears
– Megan Hollingsworth

Neil Young – Natural Beauty

When we sip our tea or coffee, start our car, enter a shop, or exchange greetings with someone while out for a stroll, we are enjoying those experiences as a direct result of interdependence. All these moments bear direct witness to the workings of interdependence. Such daily occurrences are a continuous procession of opportunities to recognize that others are indispensable to our well-being.
– Karmapa, Interconnected

I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.
– Nelson Mandela

The Way
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.”

what if, instead of fighting each other,
we fought for each other?
– Eric C.

There is still a window of time. Nature can win If we give her a chance.
– Dr. Jane Goodall

Love never dies a natural death.
It dies because we don’t know how to
replenish its source.
It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals.
It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of
weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
– Anaïs Nin

In the story of Buddha’s death, his attendant Ananda
kneels weeping at his side, face contorted in grief,
golden robe darkening with tears. Ananda is an anxious man,
and Buddha strives to calm him. “Past Buddhas
have had good attendants, but none like you, Ananda.”
Buddha lifts his face to the west,
gazing on far rice fields flickering and flaring
in the falling light that
now and forever, world without end
lights the earth. Buddha speaks: “Ananda, have you seen
the golden rice fields stretching out to the horizon? They are
so beautiful.” Ananda pauses, looks westward. “Yes, Lord,
they are beautiful.” Shot through with late sun,
the still air glitters. Buddha’s eyes close, his arms
and legs stiffen, the sun sinks, Ananda’s heart breaks,
but the rice fields remain. The night wind rises,
runs blue fingers through their hair, as
now and forever, world without end
I am traveling home this evening, caught
at a lonely crossing by a passing train.
I pause, look westward to see twilight’s first red rays
set fire to fields of wild grass around me.
The night wind rises, runs blue fingers through my hair.
Rushes whisper in the distance, many-tongued,
tattered birches gleam whitely, their leaves like flames
flickering and flaring in the falling light that
now and forever, world without end
lights my eyes, and once again I know there is
no other world. Here are the all the fallen
stars of heaven, here are all the fires of hell. Here are bodies
burning in time and blazing with sun, here is the heart
borne through millions of skies in its chariot of bones.
The train roars past, disappearing into the openness
of an opal sky which remains, stretching out
to the horizon and beyond, curving its arms
now and forever over this world without end.
-Thade Correa

You are a potent person and you possess immense possibilities, so you do not have to get external help. You may be screwed up and confused, like a little seed that has dried up, but once you plant that particular seed and begin to water it and nurture it with substances like manure, it will grow. Just like the seed, you begin to realize yourself. You begin to develop from within.
Excerpted from: Milarepa: Lessons from the Life and Songs of Tibet’s Great Yogi by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Old spirit, in and beyond me,
keep, and extend me. Amid strangers,
friends, great trees and big seas breaking,
let love move me. Let me hear the whole music,
see clear, reach deep…
After such luck, however late, give me to give to
the oldest dance …. Then to good sleep,
and – if it happens – glad waking.
– Philip Booth

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

The highest good is like water.
Water give life to the 10,000 things
and does not strive.
It flows in places men reject
and so is like the Tao.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In daily life, be competent.
In action, be aware of the time
and the season.
No fight: No blame.
– Lao Tsu,
Tao Te Ching, verse 8

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

I went to sleep somewhat sad. But I awoke happy, purely animal. When I opened the bedroom windows and looked out onto the cool, calm garden in the first rays of sunlight, I was certain there was nothing to do but live.
– Clarice Lispector

You too have nothing to lose but spend
much of your time telling yourself you do.
In fact, it seems the point of society is to
make people think they have something to lose
until a man [or woman] goes through life as nervously
as if he [or she] were carrying a teetery
stack of plates up a dark flight of stairs.
– Stephen Dobyns

I wanted to drift out above that olive-colored land / until my body broke apart like cloud or spring rain.
– Stephen Dobyns

Weakness of memory for details and the course of one’s own comprehension of the world—a very bad sign. Only fragments of a totality. How are you going [to even] touch the greatest task, how are you going [to even] sense its nearness, even dream its existence, even plead for its dream, dare to learn the letters of the plea, if you cannot collect yourself in such a way that, when the decisive moment comes, you hold the totality of yourself collected in your hand like a stone to be thrown, a knife for the kill? However: there is no need to spit on one’s hands before clasping them.
– Franz Kafka

If I covered the ground with pearls,
would you notice what was on the ground? Or would you think it was concrete and walk as you always have?
If I said our love is the upaya, would you know what I meant and would you uphold it?
Do you see I clear the air with my hand?
It is something that could be easily missed, it happens so fast,
no fanfare.
Can you see the light like diamonds sparkling in the leaves this morning?
My back is too sore for prayers made by others.
What will heal me and you
is speaking
our own
– Belle Heywood

Bringing your ego into the light of your self-reflection is the first step in renunciation. See how it is an impediment in your spiritual path, your social life, your family life and at work. It will make a tremendous difference in terms of being able to have real, genuine human contact filled with goodness, once you have renounced your ego.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
– Ray Bradbury

There is beauty and adventure in the commonplace for those with eyes to see beyond.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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

The waves of mind demand so much of Silence. But She does not talk back does not give answers nor arguments. She is the hidden author of every thought every feeling every moment. Silence. She speaks only one word. And that word is this very existence. No name you give Her touches Her captures Her. No understanding can embrace Her. Mind throws itself at Silence demanding to be let in. But no mind can enter into Her radiant darkness Her pure and smiling nothingness. The mind hurls itself into sacred questions. But Silence remains unmoved by the tantrums. She asks only for nothing. Nothing. But you won’t give it to Her because it is the last coin in your pocket. And you would rather give her your demands than your sacred and empty hands. *** Everything leaps out in celebration of mystery, but only nothing enters the sacred source, the silent substance. Only nothing gets touched and becomes sacred, realizes its own divinity, realizes what it is without the aid of a single thought. Silence is my secret. Not hidden. Not hidden.

my focus now is on the cultivation of a civil society, cultures of respect and kindness, and the valuing of courage and discernment.
– Joan Halifax

there is only a need to yield to whatever we are engaged in
fully yield
be that
surrender fully yield to that in each moment
opening dusty boxes I surrender to each box and the entire contents
filtering ghosts
papers poems and photos
a heaviness in my chest
My insides feel inside out
does that even make sense?
Some say surrender, grace yield, purity, spirit, god all the same
yes, especially today
A powerful day today
Captured by mementos
Of both birth and death
that kind of time/day
allowing the inside to be on the outside
I am moving from a known place into the unknown.
It’s a daunting role and with each box comes a memory or memento.
Milestones and dead ends
Poignant stars all woven into the same. blanket
It’s a potent elusive force that fills my chest, intense and heavy.
The dusty pictures and old love letters have turned me inside out.
So i yield and surrender to this cathartic moment.
And keep what speaks to me for my travels and burn or gift the rest.
– Tom Sheldon

We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or to be blind. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become the story-teller.
– Rebecca Solnit

A heavy and scorching summer with hot, blistering days and warm, sensual nights had arrived. Every day was like the one before, every night like the one just past. Time stood still, and they were alone. They concentrated only on each other, and the forest, the lake, and the small house was their world. A sultry sensuousness enveloped them, and they forgot to think.
– Arthur Schnitzler

Knowledge without deep comprehension, imagination and compassion is just a more complex form of ignorance. We need to shift paradigms, to grow wiser, all of us, especially the dominant cultures and civilizations. We are good at building machines, because we have learned to think mechanistically. Such thinking got us to the moon, but it’s never going to solve the social and ecological problems that it helped to create.
– Christopher Chase

Were it not for the leaping and the twinkling of the soul, man would rot away in his greatest passion—idleness.
– Carl Jung

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
– Tim Kreider

We’re being summoned by the world itself to make many urgent
changes to the human project, but most central is a fundamental re-visioning and reshaping of ourselves, a shift in consciousness. We must reclaim and embody our original wholeness, our indigenous human nature granted to us by nature itself. And the key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, manage stress, or refurbish dysfunctional relationships but rather to fully flesh out our multifaceted, wild psyches, committing ourselves to the largest story we’re capable of living, serving something bigger than
ourselves. We must dare again to dream the impossible and to romance the world, to feel and honor our kinship with all species and habitats, to embrace the troubling wisdom of paradox, and to shape ourselves into visionaries with the artistry to revitalize our enchanted and endangered world.
– Bill Plotkin

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
– Henry David Thoreau

… remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.
– John Green

hang on / keep your silence /
until the words / ripen
– Pablo Neruda

Dawn Revisited
Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.

Don’t sleep on the side project. The best work I’ve ever done is due largely to a lot of glorious wanderings in between.
– Amber Sparks

The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.
– Shakti Gawain

Deep within every life, no matter how dull or ineffectual it may seem from the outside, there is something eternal happening. This is the secret way that change and possibility conspire with growth. John Henry Newman summed this up beautifully when he said, “To grow is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Change, therefore, need not be threatening; it can in fact bring our lives to perfection. Perfection is not cold completion. Neither is it avoidance of risk and danger in order to keep the soul pure or the conscience unclouded. When you are faithful to the risk and ambivalence of growth, you are engaging your life. The soul loves risk; it is only through the door of risk that growth can enter.
– John O’Donohue

Poor, deluded Shawondasee!
‘Twas no woman that you gazed at,
‘Twas no maiden that you sighed for,
‘Twas the prairie dandelion
That through all the dreamy Summer
You had gazed at with such longing,
You had sighed for with such passion,
And had puffed away forever,
Blown into the air with sighing.
Ah! deluded Shawondasee!
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Having thus internalized the nature of all that is,
Sit upright on a comfortable seat, with the body at ease,
And cultivate bodhicitta, concerned with the needs of beings.
Don’t dwell on the past or fantasize about the future,
Don’t engineer this natural ongoing presence.
Don’t direct the mind, or draw it within,
Just let it settle without distraction,
Resting without grasping or conceptually structuring this open clarity
That is vivid, quiet, lucid, illuminating.
This is the wisdom intent of the buddhas of the three times.
Other than settling, easily relaxed
In the innate experience of the way your mind abides —
There’s nothing you need to contemplate.
So, you can release the effort it takes to engineer it,
For it is not an object of conceptual elaboration —
It can’t be conceived of or investigated.
Yet, it is the wisdom intent of all the buddhas.
Therefore, to quiet the tangled mess of thought,
All you need to do is look into the intimately peaceful nature of mind.
At the end of the session, dedicate without reifying the three spheres.
– A selection from Longchenpa’s “Song of the Enchanting Wildwoods”

You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself…the height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. …And this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.
– Leonardo da Vinci

We should every night call ourselves to an account;
What infirmity have I mastered today?
What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.
– Seneca

The books we need are of the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that makes us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, lost in a forest remote from all human habitation.
– Franz Kafka

i hardly imagined i would learn so much from studying Nothing!
– Andrew Hagel

No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from the horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.
– David Foster Wallace

All I ask is that you turn to the child
inside, those words dreaming and changeless
as love’s last chance—let them be said
against whatever, crying in the night,
we still think may be stopped,
– Dave Smith

Can you punctuate yourself as silence? You will see the edges cut away from you, back into a world of another kind—back into real emptiness
– Anne Carson

It was Epicurus who said “vain is the word of the philosopher that doesn’t heal the suffering of man.” The Stoics would agree, but took it further: Believing that philosophy was in the works not the words. It’s why they held up Cato as the ultimate example of Stoic philosophy, because of how he lived, not how he spoke or wrote.
In France last week, the philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle died while rushing into the water to save two young children who were in danger. In her writing, Anne spoke often of risk—saying that it was impossible to live life without risk and that in fact, life was risk. It is in the presence of danger, she once said in an interview, that we are gifted with the “strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself.”
What Dufourmantelle thought of Stoicism is not well-known, but it is undeniable that she was the kind of philosopher they would have admired. She earned the honor for eternity on that beach in Saint-Tropez. Her words had long been provocative and interesting and rightfully earned her admission to the finest schools and to the Académie française, but it was her works—what she did in a moment of danger and risk—that made her a true philosopher.
And so we ought to follow her lead, all of us who study any school of philosophy and life.

Reach back pull them forward
Reach down lift them up
Reach out bring them in
Reach in for the love that you can give
– Chant by Agu and Jami Sieber

Don’t miss the opportunities you have to sit down, without having to worry or think about doing anything. Lay down your burdens, your worries, and your projects. Just sit and feel that you are alive. Sit with your son, your daughter, your partner, your friend. That’s enough to be happy.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

by Jeff Foster
You did your best.
You did all you could do.
You had no choice.
Considering what you believed at the time, what powerful or subtle feelings were moving through you, how connected you were to your breath, your body, your truth, your path, how rooted you were in the present moment, how clearly you saw or did not see, how much pain you were in, how open and raw your wounds were, how much resistance you felt, how narrow or wide your perspective was, how caught up you were in your personal story, you could not have acted or spoken any differently.
You did your best, given the level of consciousness you were acting from.
Is this an excuse? No. It’s about taking full responsibility for what happened. Yet losing the guilt, “giving up the hope of a better past”.
Is this a cop-out? No. It’s about forgiving yourself. Letting go of ‘what could or should have been’, and aligning with ‘what is’, grounding yourself in the Now, the only place from which true change can happen, new answers can appear, healing can begin.
Grieve over the past, of course.
Learn your lessons, of course.
Listen to others sharing their pain. Feel everything deeply. Make amends as much as you can. Say sorry, if it’s appropriate.
But do not for one moment think that the past could have been any different.
Do not for one moment believe that the Universe went wrong.
You are where you are, Now. It is a new day, a new beginning.
Armed with new insight, new perspective, a more humble and forgiving heart, a more curious attitude, move into the future, grounded in this loving presence, open to possibility.

Changes in societal structure and in art would possess more credibility if they had their origins in the soul and spirit.
– Marc Chagall, The angel with the sword

a person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human. to become human is what this individual person has been created for.
– Martin Buber

The supply of human rights is inexhaustible; there is enough to go around. Those who consider another’s rights interfere with theirs are confusing, purposely or otherwise, dominance or exploitation or benefitting from inequality with rights.
– Rebecca Solnit

Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
– Ernest Hemingway

The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, anti-Nazi German Theologian

Right, off to bed. So as not to sleep. To listen to the darkness, the silence, the solitude and the dead.
– Samuel Beckett, a letter to Mania Peron

Until I found you,
I wrote verse, drew pictures,
And, went out with friends
For walks …
Now that I love you,
Curled like an old mongrel
My life lies, content
In you …
– Kamala Das, Love, Summer in Calcutta

Only the fireflies light up / Our porch, only the silence tells me that I must / Stay
– Kamala Das, No Moon at My Village Home

So many versions of just one memory, and yet none of them were right or wrong. Instead, they were all pieces. Only when fitted together, edge to edge, could they even begin to tell the whole story.
– Sarah Dessen, from Just Listen

The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
– Katherine Mansfield

Even those who are exceptionally clever in finding the means to wealth are seldom perplexed by the fact that the end goal to which all their intelligence is directed is precisely the same goal the least intelligent aim at.
– Peter Capofreddi

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

Music is the language of the angels, and every person has an angel in the prison of his heart. So music tries to find a key to release the angel. And the angels don’t have political disagreements, wars, greed, and their language is music. So what we’re trying to do is to connect people.
– Teodor Currentzis

Poetry is words that are empowered, that make your hair stand on end, that you recognize instantly as being some form of subjective truth that has an objective reality to it, because somebody has realized it. Then you call it poetry later.
– Allen Ginsberg

What a strange thing this zazen is. When we practice it, distracting ideas, irrelevant thoughts–in short delusions, which ordinary people are made of, suddenly seem to feel an irresistible temptation to arise and appear at the surface. Then there is the desire to drive these thoughts away, an irresistible desire to which our complete effort is added. Those who don’t do zazen know nothing about this. Why is it when we practice, deluded thoughts continue to surface one after …the other? The reason, which we learn from zazen, is that each one of us, from prince to beggar, is an ordinary (deluded) person. The attempt to drive these deluded thoughts away–delusion being so much nonsense (interfering, with the happiness of oneself and others)–is also something brought home to us through zazen. We tentatively call this zazen that guides us in this way, ‘Buddha.’
– Sodo Yokoyama Roshi

The cup of suffering is overflowing everywhere. 
So please don’t transform your unhappiness into aggressiveness
– Paulo Coelho

In this Strangely Autumnal Light
This Isn’t T. S. Eliot
Everyone is so fucking tediously mindful….
How about some mindlessness?
Let breath run wild
eyeballs, ears, mouth
run free
Opened Released Unmonitored
Kill the observer
Join breath
toe tree intestine dream
Don’t hold tight
Let all run fee.
Let soft and kind gentle
bird and bee sound
rest as cool breeze
Light and shadow play
word and sound, color and hope
car horn blare
not across;
just play.
Is this now?
Who the fuck knows?
The soles of feet
balls arch heel
Just the harmonics of light
air sun sky leaf dream
So generous the entirety
dream so clear
nothing to change
control or reign in
Eustachian tube sensation
jaw cheek knee gonad palm
tail to snout
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate…
Far fucking out.
– John Bailes

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.
– Henry James

Actions speak louder than words.
It seems the year that I am really meant to be learning that at every step.
I used to be so swayed by nice words, poetic words, mystical words, exalted words, promises, declarations……
Really, ‘acts of service’ and actual real presence are my primary love languages.
Not words. Certainly now, more than ever.
So many people are well-versed and use words as spells. But they have absolutely NO mudra behind it.
Not interested.
– Belle Heywood

Low Swamplands Produce Flowers
What is the meaning of Buddhism? Simple: “Winter is cold and summer is hot, night is dark and day is light. It’s just that you vainly set up meaning where there is no meaning, create concern where there is no concern, impose ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ where there is no inside or outside, and talk endlessly of this and that where nothing exists. Be totally without knowledge and understanding, as before, like a three-year-old child. It is the mud of the low-lying marshlands that produces these flowers.
– Ta Hui, Swampland Flowers

If you have one teapot
And can brew your tea in it
That will do quite well.
How much does he lack himself
Who must have a lot of things?
– Sen no Rikyū

Our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by.
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Brook! whose society the Poet seeks,
Intent his wasted spirits to renew.
– William Wordsworth

It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.
– Wendell Berry

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone…

I came up with one thing

And I don’t believe I’m wrong

That nobody,
But nobody

Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone by Maya Angelou

It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people. ”
– John Wesley

How much of this truth can I bear to see and still live
How much of this pain
can I use?
– Audre Lorde

If we fall, we don’t need self-recrimination or blame or anger — we need a reawakening of our intention and a willingness to re-commit, to be whole-hearted once again.
– Sharon Salzberg

Sleep’s where my mind’s a slow moving river
With the algae on the pebbly floor
– Jaz Allen-Sutton

I don’t care what you believe~
I only want to experience your
compassion and kindness~
– Ari Annona​

Listen! Or your tongue will make you deaf.
– Cherokee wisdom​

I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion.
– Albert Camus

…They hear how
the artery of my soul has been severed
and soul is spurting out upon them,
bleeding on them,
messing up their clothes, …
dirtying their shoes.
And God is filling me,
though there are times of doubt
as hollow as the Grand Canyon,
still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs,
the spider in its intricate web,
the sun
in all its amazement,
and a slain ram
that is the glory,
the mystery of great cost,
and my heart,
which is very big,
I promise it is very large,
a monster of sorts,
takes it all in–
all in comes the fury of love.
– Anne Sexton​

And then those shadowy ancestors had lost all their hold over her. And that, too, had happened ever so gradually. Some summer or winter morning she had realized that her venerated dead belonged to the gazillions of those who were no longer present, having seeped into the ground since the dawn of time, crumbled, or blown away to the four corners of the earth, never to be recalled, never to be brought to life by any love whatsoever, irrecoverable for all eternity. They still t…urned up now and then in dreams, but only as part of a crowd, under the heading of ‘also present’: this ‘now and then’ no longer had the meaning it had once possessed of ‘all sacred times.’

And this second death of her ancestors was also fine with her, like the small and large birth country that had earlier slipped away from inside her. In the meantime she had come to see has delusory the type of strength she had long derived less from the entire country than from little pockets in that country, less than from the wholly successful life of an ancestor (to be sure, there was not even one life that fit the description) than from misfortune and a lonely death (which was the lot of all her forebears). Such strength, she wondered: Did it not make one tyrannical and ruthless? Did it not add to the burdens of those with whom one now passed time, lived, worked, had dealings, in the present? Such strength was accompanied by a kind of arrogance, was it not, which could thwart, even harm, even destroy the days as well as the nights of one’s contemporaries, those who somehow or other got close to one? Once free of her ancestor worship, did she become receptive to other kinds of strength? Impulses? No, in spite of everything, it was not perfectly fine with her when the ancestors grew meaningless and dim. It was more a question of her letting it happen, with a bitter aftertaste, and not only on her tongue.
– Peter Handke, Crossing the Sierra de Gredos​

In moments, I clutched at the notion of some larger ‘me’ that could contain and justify my contradictory behavior, but more often I simply felt like the scene of two irreconcilable visions, two different people, one unerringly loyal and faithful, the other treacherous and greedy.
– Jennifer Egan, Look at Me

The need for rites of passage at various points in the life cycle is not just a desire to celebrate change. Self generated rites of passage invest the change with meaning it would not otherwise have. Human beings can handle even deeply traumatic experiences if these events are given socially supported positive meaning .
– Virgina Hines

Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.
– Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.
– Thomas Jefferson

I have begun to think that God is small
like a wren, a piece of blue
beach glass
shining in the wet
of sea and sky, that double exposure. Every day

the huge sun, the blue vault brimming
with invisible stars.
Each night the echoing expanse
of dark and always God in the palm of my hand,
fluttering, gleaming like the soul

with sweetness, with a vast
reluctance to change us or give us
anything but that sweetness, despised
by the world
because it is so small.
– Christopher Howell ​

One of the ways that we have been kept down, is being led to feel like we are “too much” whenever we allow ourselves to embody and express our fullness. When in…ternalized at an early age, this shaming and repressive message imprisons us and prevents us from developing and humanifesting all that we are. We close down energetically, and organize our lives around a smaller, less visible version of us. If this has been your experience, I encourage you to work it through so that you are no longer trying to cram your magnificence into a tiny little space. You are meant for so much more than that. They may not be able to hear it, but there is nothing “too much” about your experience or expression. I am convinced that if we were all able to cut through the silencing shame and speak our truths, we would be standing in the middle of the street screaming and outpouring millions of unsaid memories and unexpressed feelings. And the divine gifts that got buried below the ‘too much’ messaging, would finally get opened.​
– Jeff Brown

Why, if we are as pragmatic as we claim, don’t we begin to ask ourselves seriously: Where does our real future lie?
– Sogyal Rinpoche

If you feel the need to judge a person you do not know, have not met, have never truly engaged with or researched…. Chances are you’re mud-slinging on the basis of your own projections and insecurities. Chances are that your perception of the situation reinforces the wound and the construction of ego-self that goes with it…chances are you’ll hate reading this message.

It’s barely half past six in the morning and already I’m getting reports about this kind of behavior. Kinda thinking I should have slept in…

Stay to the core of who you are. If you’ve got a different opinion, that’s fine. But casting aspersions on another’s character is… bang out of line….

And frankly, an energetic waste of time. Remember that people cannot be reduced to single values or positions….and that it is tempting and all to easy to reduce someone who disagrees with you into a dehumanised caricature of themselves.

That, my friends is one of the most dangerous rhetorical devices there is. And what truly separates and factionalizes the human race.
– Bairavee Balasubramaniam

You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.
– Florida Scott Maxwell

God never shouts or spouts. The rocks and sublime canyons, and waters and winds, and all life structures – animals and ouzels, meadows and groves, and all the silver stars – are words of God, and they flow smooth and ripe from his lips.
– John Muir

Nothing is harder / on the soul / than the smell of dreams / while they evaporate.
– Mahmoud Darwish​

When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.
– Louise Erdrich​

The azure blue, the heavenly hue,
The first created realm of blue;
And over its radiance divine
My soul does pour its love sublime.

My heart that once with joy did glow
Is plunged in sorrow and in woe,
But yet it thrills and loves anew
To view again the sapphire blue.

I love to gaze on lovely eyes
That swim in azure from the skies;
The heavens lend this color fair,
Arid leave a dream of gladness there.

Enamored of the limpid sky,
My thoughts take wing to regions high,
And in that blue of liquid fire
In raptured ecstasy expire.

When I am dead no tears will flow
Upon my lonely grave below,
But from above the aerial blue
Will scatter over me tears of dew.

The mists about my tomb will wind
A veil of pearl with shadows twined;
But lured by sunbeams from on high
Twill melt into the azure sky.

– Nikolov Baratashvili​

At my age, after you’re done—or ruefully think you’re done—with the nagging anxieties and complications of your youth, what is there left for you to confront but the great simplicities? I never tire of birdsong and sky and weather. I want to write poems that are natural, luminous, deep, spare. I dream of an art so transparent that you can look through and see the world.
– Stanley Kunitz​

Tell me where the big people are, please. The big, reckless, brilliant people who believe passionately in doing something good and noble and inventive. I’ll rest in their shadow or I’ll help them balance their weight. I pray that they’ll hire me or teach me. I’m so tired of small people and small things. It doesn’t have to be a small world.
– Jeanne Moreau

It’s all I have to bring today
Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—…
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.​

If you wish
to enjoy the fruits
of enlightenment, abandon
regard for the conventional and
the communal. The Way is a path …
for one. Then it narrows
until there’s not even
space for you

– Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 51​

Peter Capofreddi:

You’re making it seem complicated. It is really very simple. Plato spells it out for you. No one acts honestly in the administration of states. Saint Paul spells it out for you. The rulers of this world are corrupt. They are coming to nothing. Kant spells it out for you. Use your own understanding without the guidance of another. If we didn’t have our heads so far up our Ivy League asses, we might think they were all trying to tell us something.

Stop obeying. Start thinking.

Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love — and I mean love, not lust — is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person, compared to the ideal of your animus or anima, peaks through, say, This is a challenge to my compassion. Then make a try, and something might begin to get going here.
—Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss

For fifteen years I’ve embraced and tried to cultivate a spirituality of imperfection—one that does not overly invest mental/emotional energy towards a hope and expectation that if I think or do just the right thing I will be saved through transcendence from this body, this life, this world, these emotions, feelings, and relationships — with the hope of a just reward for my spiritual heroics and mental hygiene. It is a humanizing effort of sobriety of mind while making room for muddy thoughts. It is a human need for calm equanimity while making room for the storms and ecstasies of Dionysius and the pathos of Eros. I am beholden to recognize my inner child needs co-parenting (by my adult self) while my literal flesh and bones child needs a ‘good enough’ father who moves onwards best as he can despite his shortcomings.

There’s no idyllic trouble-free place I need to travel towards in order to arrive at perfection — perfection is the simple act of living in this fallible body with this astounding gift of life, in and of this beautiful and ugly world, with these poignant and fiery emotions, thoughts, feelings, and relationships. This does not mean that I don’t have hopes, passions, aspirations, or desires to assuage life’s travails — rather it is an exercise of whole-being maturation: checking for and working against the seductive (American) pull toward naivety (puerile victimization) while maintaining a modicum of vitalizing innocence, and softening and chipping off the calcifications of cynicism that time and culture deposit in my psyche. \

My spirituality of imperfection is a quest of individuation—riddled with bumps, cracks, blind spots, injustices, suffering, grief and traps — but this is also an alchemical journey where I, the first-person host, takes in all of it (failures and mistakes) into a crucible of transformation cooking this vital stuff of life, looking for what’s precious in value while burning off the dross.
The alchemical Outcome is the shining Golden Heart:
Love, joy, beauty, gratitude, empathy, mirth, imagination, awe, and compassion

And when the experiment fails,
as it must,
I clean up and start again
— always, we begin again​
– Andrew Hagel

never again .

you may not speak to me that way –

I am not a dump for your wasted life ∙

nor an incinerator where you burn your rage ∙

nor a pit where you bury your smoldering angst –

not a library where you stuff great books

you never read or understood,

your easy lies are toxic ∙

I must unlearn each lie you tell ∙

remember that ∙ remember that

before you “teach” me ∙

I’m not yours to manipulate,

intimidate or suppress ∙

to command, control or punish ∙

to soothe with untruths ∙ fantasy

and entertainments sick with selling ∙

to indoctrinate or to “raise”

to be a “good” whatever ∙

I am not yours –

am I to be a repository of your unrealized dreams?

your absurd and pretty delusions?

will you live your life through me

and force me to be what you never could be?

I refuse –

I was free ∙ born to be free ∙

this room full of cute junk is not love ∙

you cannot buy happiness for me, and

my heart is not for sale –

mother—father ∙ I need ∙

I need real food ever again.

you may not speak to me that way –

I am not a dump for your wasted life ∙
nor an incinerator where you may burn your rage ∙
nor a pit where you bury your smoldering angst –

I am not a library where you stuff great books
you never understood yourself,

or even read ∙

your easy lies are toxic to me ∙

I must unlearn every lie you tell ∙

remember that ∙ remember that
before you “teach” me ∙

I am not yours to manipulate,
intimidate or suppress ∙
to command ∙ control or punish ∙

to soothe with untruths ∙ fantasy and entertainments ∙

to indoctrinate or to “raise” to be a “good” whatever ∙

I am not yours —

am I to be a repository of your unrealized dreams
and pretty delusions?

will you live your life through me
and force me to be what you never could be?

I refuse –

I was free ∙ born to be free ∙

this room full of cute junk is not love ∙

you cannot buy happiness for me ∙

my heart is not for sale –

mother—father ∙ I need ∙

I need real food ∙∙∙

why do you feed me salt-sweet plastic?

you know what is right—don’t you?

have you forgotten so much?

the television is making me sick ∙

the films ∙

I’m already an addict –

I am not an object for your obsessive “love”

nor an answer to your loneliness ∙

nor a thing you may touch for your pleasure

or in your ever-present pain ∙

or to display proudly as an ornament ∙

you know what is right—don’t you?

don’t you?

or have you forgotten so much?

you may not speak to me in that way ∙

I owe you nothing ∙

I am the gift ∙

you may not speak to me that way ever again —

– E.M.​

I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster. … The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius.
– Sam Shepard

If you really want to hold space for someone through their deepest healing, you have to be ready for them to vomit, and shake, and cry, and sweat, for their teeth to chatter, for death to visit more than twice before the dawn. You have to be willing to hold them through ALL of it – but not so closely that you are their band-aid or their fix – just hold them so fiercely and lovingly and eternally in their sovereignty, and let them feel ALL of it; a kind of merciless tenderness….
They will flail and wiggle and do anything to “escape” it, including pretending that you are their captor. That’s okay. If they can make it through to the other side – if they have the vast courage and the will – through the horror and the loathing and confusion and the darkest night to find the diamond, they will be free. And you will be there smiling, gently, your heart swelling, because you knew and saw and loved them from eternity. If you want to hold space.
– Sara Sophia Eisenman​

by Veronica Patterson

Say over and over the names of things,
the clean nouns: weeping birch, bloodstone, tanager,…
Banshee damask rose. Read field guides, atlases,
gravestones. At the store, bless each apple
by kind: McIntosh, Winesap, Delicious, Jonathan.
Enunciate the vegetables and herbs: okra, calendula.

Go deeper into the terms of some small landscape:
spiders, for example. Then, after a speech on
compromising the environment for technology,
recite the tough, silky structure of webs:
tropical stick, ladder web, mesh web, filmy dome, funnel,
trap door. When you have compared the candidates’ slippery
platforms, chant the spiders: comb footed, round headed,
garden cross, feather legged, ogre faced, black widow.
Remember that most short verbs are ethical: hatch, grow,
spin, trap, eat. Dig deep, pronounce clearly, pull the words
in over your head. Hole up
for the duration.​

Like a sun, every godlike mountain seems to radiate beams of beauty that reach and touch us with mysterious influence like loving hands; and we are awed with the sense of infinite space.
– John Muir

What is the meaning of life? That was all – a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

I become each day more reckless,
too impatient for summer, the unbearable heat,
the calm that comes with it. There are no hills here,
not one, and I’m bored with the stillness

of the yellow field outside my window. And you,
who cannot keep still, who can never
look back, where will you go next?
How will I find you?

Can you feel the world pull
apart, the seams loosen?
What, tell me, will keep it whole,

if not you? if not me?
Send a postcard, picture, tell me
how you’ve been.
– Blas Falconer
from Dear Friend
A Question of Gravity and Light

I feel a mysterious presence in a thousand coy hiding things.
– John Muir

May my heart be kind. May my mind be fierce. May my spirit be brave.
– Kate Forsyth

To climb the mountain is an ancient act of ceremony. It requires stepping across the boundary of the ego, surrendering plans, objectives and goals. It means humbly placing one foot in front of the other, walking along the trail as it presents itself, not knowing where it may lead. It entails placing alters along the way, making offerings to the gods, asking permission to go a little further, a little higher, a little deeper, and turning back, wisely, when the danger becomes too great. And, more than anything, to climb the mountain necessitates gratitude and joy for every gift that is discovered along the way— the sweet scent of the Cedar, the cool stream, the grassy meadow, the wild blueberries, the brilliant stars. Incredible gifts! Precious as gold.
– Betsy Perluss

But what could you do? Only keep going. People kept going; they had been doing it for thousands of years. You took the kindness offered, letting it seep as far in as it could go, and the remaining dark crevices you carried around with you, knowing that over time they might change into something almost bearable.
– Elizabeth Strout

‪Anyone who tells you what Buddhism must mean for everyone is overstepping their boundaries. ‬I practice, study and teach a secular and psychological approach to Shambhala Buddhism. If you want something more supernatural, go for it. Many different lineages, teachers, and students have many different interpretations. The only thing that really matters is what works and whether we commit to a path wholeheartedly. In my humble opinion, if your practice is making you kinder to yourself and more available to help others in a crazy and cynical world, you are on the right track, and you can call it whatever you like.
– Ethan Nichtern

We live in two landscapes, as Augustine might have said,
One that’s eternal and divine,
   and one that’s just the back yard.
– Charles Wright, Indian Summer II, Appalachia

In order to be free you simply have to be so, without asking permission of anybody. You have to have your own hypothesis about what you are called to do, and follow it, not giving in to circumstances or complying with them. But that sort of freedom demands powerful inner resources, a high degree of self-awareness, a consciousness of your responsibility to yourself and therefore to other people.
– Andrei Tarkovsky, The artist’s responsibility

I am a country
of such tender lust. A place where birds

deliriously beat their wings, where golden
fish tremble in a lake of tongues.
– Jeremy Radin, Koi

Keep awake, keep awake, artist,
Do not give in to sleep …
You are eternity’s hostage
And prisoner of time.
– Boris Pasternak

One day you are like an animal.
You have a routine.
There are certain places that attract you
and others that repel you
and the next you are a kite
at the mercy of every slight tide of wind
forced into quick decisions,
your string attached to the hand of a stranger
your body moving wildly, your heart batted around
by the fastest notes of indecision
and the sky and the world still, unbreakabke,
a gray grinning calmness
from which you can get nothing to wake.
– Joshua Beckman, Purple Heart Highway

And I watch my words from a long way off.
They are more yours than mine.
They climb on my old suffering like ivy.
– Pablo Neruda, So that You Will Hear Me

I lie awake all night long.
And as I drowse in the dawn,
The swallows stir in the eaves,
And wake me weeping again.
– Kenneth Rexroth, The Dragon and the Unicorn

We need more poetry that reveals what the heart is ready to recognize.
– Joseph Campbell, Living in the Sacred

Love, this wood can support our passion, though leaves
Are not enough death
To balance what we must act out. Let me double down
My autumn raincoat near the summer pit
Where the unknowable woman was riding proudly
The high crest of June, her pink shirt open-throated,
– James Dickey, Sustainment

Sometime you’ll walk all night. You’ll
come where the sky bends down. You’ll turn
aside at a fold in the earth and
be gone from the day.
When the sky turns light again
the land will stare blank for miles
at itself. You won’t be there
to see any more.
Back where you lived, for those
who remember well, there will come
a glass face, invisible but still and real,
all night outside in the rain.
– William Stafford, A Glass Face in the Rain

Do you know the flowing hair that wrote the wind? The glances that ran parallel with time? The silence that understood itself?
– Odysseus Elytis

For we know
of each other’s night
of each other’s darkness
of each other’s stars
shimmering darkly.
– Göran Sonnevi, Mozart’s Third Brain

To Sylvia Plath
Sleepwalking she prepared breakfast
for her still dreaming children, before
breaking fast, to satisfy her appetite
no fire needed, she all-consuming flame
bravely cowered on the kitchen floor
and slaked an antique thirst on vapor
laying her dream-tormented head to rest
she took premature or belated leave, set
out to sea, having found no harbor here.
– Yahia Lababidi

Gradually, we begin to realize that to come out is not to become something or someone we were not, but to become what we already are, what we always have been. Coming out is the armor falling, the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, the bud becoming the full-blown rose … the act of coming out may be viewed as an act of creation by way of deciphering or excavating and then manifesting and personalizing an already embodied, perhaps, archetypal, form.
– Randy P. Conner

On the Day When You Are Too Busy
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

for all the busy people

that’s when I hope you remember

the skylark, not so much the bird,

though that, too—how it sings

even while being chased by hunters,

though it increases its chances

of being caught.

But more, I hope you will think

of Johnny Mercer who struggled

a year to write the words

to the tune by Hoagy Carmichael.

By the time he finished Skylark,

Carmichael had forgotten

all about the song.

Sometimes, it takes a long,

long time before the words

come out right. Sometimes,

the moment just isn’t ripe. Sometimes

there’s just too much to do.

But perhaps amidst the meetings

and the plans, a snatch of song

will come to you, something

that won’t be ignored.

Perhaps between the papers

and the rush, you will feel it,

winging. Perhaps, as you fly off

toward the always what’s next,

you won’t stop yourself

from singing.

It is not just our grasping, aversion, or ignoring, but our desire to solidify these feelings into some kind of ongoing drama that creates karma.
– David Nichtern

Patti Smith on Sam Shepard, from “The New Yorker”:
“Sam promised me that one day he’d show me the landscape of the Southwest, for though well-travelled, I’d not seen much of our own country. But Sam was dealt a whole other hand, stricken with a debilitating affliction. He eventually stopped picking up and leaving. From then on, I visited him, and we read and talked, but mostly we worked. Laboring over his last manuscript, he courageously summoned a reservoir of mental stamina, facing each challenge that fate apportioned him.
“Going over a passage describing the Western landscape, he suddenly looked up and said, “I’m sorry I can’t take you there.” I just smiled, for somehow he had already done just that. Without a word, eyes closed, we tramped through the American desert that rolled out a carpet of many colors—saffron dust, then russet, even the color of green glass, golden greens, and then, suddenly, an almost inhuman blue. Blue sand, I said, filled with wonder. Blue everything, he said, and the songs we sang had a color of their own.”

I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.
– C.S. Lewis

Whatever it is you’re seeking
won’t come in the form you’re expecting.
– Haruki Murakami

What is important is to keep our mind high in the world of true understanding, and returning to the world of our daily experience to seek therein the truth of beauty. No matter what we may be doing at a given moment, we must not forget that it has a bearing upon our everlasting self which is poetry.
– Matsuo Bashō

It’s the noticing that cracks us open, lets something in.
Shows we’re in use.
Uses us.
Right now.
Right this minute.
– Lia Purpura

All was gone in a flowering of what is best.
All was gone as if a great thinning flattened all the worst feelings into a reddened
Furling, the way joy can be defensive, or the way fire can be tinkered into flame.
– Leah Umansky

In landscape, each rock, each river, each tree has its individual history. A river’s history, a tree’s, is the sum of all its dialogues, nothing less but nonthing more; the contain no emotion, no moral. Human cultures embellish these stories in gardens, buildings, and towns. Stories humans tell have a plot, often with beginning, middle, and end, a deliberate narrative: stories of survival, identity, power, success, and failure. Like myths and laws, landscape narratives organize reality, justify actions, instruct, persuade, even compel people to perform in certain ways. Landscapes are literature in the broadest sense, texts that can be read on many levels.
– Anne Whiston Spirn

I love the short form of you, though no one keeps / time anymore
– Paul Nemser

The world was hers for the reading.
– Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I can never keep my pen perfectly sober when it gets into the bounce and hurrah of cascades.
– John Muir

The mind wants to live forever, or to learn a very good reason why not. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, even God. The mind’s sidekick, however, will settle for two eggs over easy. The dear, stupid body is as easily satisfied as a spaniel. And, incredibly, the simple spaniel can lure the brawling mind to its dish. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg.

Further: While the mind reels in deep space, while the mind grieves or fears or exults, the workaday senses – in ignorance or idiocy, like so many computer terminals printing our market prices while the world blows up – still transcribe their little data and transmit them to the warehouse in the skull. Later, under the tranquilizing influence of fried eggs, the mind can sort through all of these data.
– Annie Dillard

We die inside when we silence our rightful expressive inheritance. We die inside when we let fear of judgment obscure our knowing. We die inside when we shame and bypass our feelings. We die inside when we choose a path that isn’t ours to walk. We die inside when we forget our magnificence, encoded within us from the beginning. I am so tired of the little deaths of self-diminishment. Better to live true.
– Jeff Brown

Eventually we’ll have to stop separating an inward psychology from art, dream, work and culture. It’s all one.
– Thomas Moore

I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.
– Shauna Niequist

Neither Buddhism nor Zen is a free-for-all, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, anything-goes philosophy
– Brad Warner

Travel and tell no one. Live a true love story and tell no one. Live happily and tell no one. People ruin beautiful things.
– Khalil Gibran

Any god who is mine but not yours, any god concerned with me but not with you, is an idol.
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

…I have never learned to tread quietly here
where sounds are always rushing on the beach
or upward with the gulls,
on an open beach
a voice can be tenacious in the wind…
and the chest heaves to snatch a breath
and cry again.

For today I have no wisdom but that of sand
heaving from some dream that sleeps beneath the tide
until I come with my voice bellowing
and my small child’s heart
and I walk through the sea-spume
like a man walking through sparks
or an intense fire where the heart ignites
and explodes leaving nothing
not an ember of wisdom to warm me

It is all consumed in the moment
the dazzling

flame of pure presence.
– David Whyte​

Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now
by Matthew Olzmann

Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,
the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations…
of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction.

It must seem like we sought to leave you nothing
but benzene, mercury, the stomachs
of seagulls rippled with jet fuel and plastic.

You probably doubt that we were capable of joy,
but I assure you we were.

We still had the night sky back then,
and like our ancestors, we admired
its illuminated doodles
of scorpion outlines and upside-down ladles.

Absolutely, there were some forests left!
Absolutely, we still had some lakes!

I’m saying, it wasn’t all lead paint and sulfur dioxide.
There were bees back then, and they pollinated
a euphoria of flowers so we might
contemplate the great mysteries and finally ask,
“Hey guys, what’s transcendence?”

And then all the bees were dead.​

Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.
– Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.
– Carl Jung

Water is Love
by Debbi Brody

Water is love
whirled and vibrating
in succulent green.

Love is water
run wild in
fluted hearts.

Water is love,
immerse a dormant garden
in its cauldron.

Love is water
spritzing laughter
from dry throats.

Water is love,
a gossamer leaf
fragrant and red.

Love is water
tricking wall-paper
into falling from the wall.

Water gives fire its smolder,
fog enfolds and curls
on love.

Love is water,
dripping from the crevasse
glazing the cliff.

Water is love
in stony tundra,
veined in pumiced frost.

Water is love,
fetuses float fluid before
birth and release to cold air.​

The Right Place

Some know what they want. Yes, maybe it is to be among the trees. Or, to be in a garden in some place where a garden is an act of defiance of so…mething.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and… the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people..
– Alexis de Tocqueville​

These mountain fires that glow in one’s blood are free to all.
– John Muir

Jung’s anima and animus, vitality and order, soul and spirit need each other’s influence so as not to become extreme.
– Thomas Moore

It was that evening with fireflies
while we were waiting for the bus to Velletri
that we saw two old people kissing
under the plane tree. It was then
you said, half to the air
half to me:
Whoever loves for years
hasn’t lived in vain.
And it was then I caught sight of the first
fireflies in the darkness, sparkling
with flashes of light around your head.
It was then.
– Rolf Jacobsen

Each of us is already the mandala of our own liberation.
– Mark Epstein

Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, –
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress
Its music.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

The way is long only
because you delay to start on it;
one single step
would bring you to Him:
become a slave,
and you will become a king

Whatever befalls you, misfortune or fortune,
is unalloyed blessing;
the attendant evil
a fleeing shadow.

No more nonsense! Lose yourself,
and the hell of your heart becomes a heaven.
Lose yourself, and anything can be accomplished.
Your selfishness is an untrained colt

Apply yourself, hand and foot,
to the search;
but when you reach the sea,
stop talking of the stream.

And if, my friend, you ask me the way
I’ll tell you plainly, it is this:
to turn your face towards the world of life,
and turn your back on rank and reputation;
and, spurning outward prosperity, to bend
your back double in his service;
to part company with those who deal in words,
and take your place in the presence of the wordless

When the eye is pure
it sees purity.
Unself yourself…
– Hakim Sanai

Since beginningless time and into the never-ending future, men have loved women without telling them…
– Jack ~ Tristessa

Ocean people are different from land people. The ocean never stops saying and asking into ears, which don’t sleep like eyes….Sometimes ocean people are given to understand the newness and oldness of the world; then all morning they try to keep that boundless joy like a little sun inside their chests. The ocean also makes its people know immensity.
– from CHINA MEN (1980) by Maxine Hong Kingston​

[If you] travel far enough, you meet yourself.
– David Mitchell​

For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known―
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

Everything that you are going through is preparing you for what you asked for.​
– Simdha Getul Rinpoche

love doesn’t follow rules, doesn’t
have limitations….. you’re thinking
of fear. fear often masquerades as
– Eric Cockrell​

I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.
– Kristin Armstrong​

The best time is late afternoon
when the sun strobes through
the columns of trees as you are hiking up,
and when you find an agreeable rock
to sit on, you will …be able to see
the light pouring down into the woods
and breaking into the shapes and tones
of things and you will hear nothing
but a sprig of birdsong or the leafy
falling of a cone or nut through the trees,
and if this is your day you might even
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
driving overhead toward some destination.

But it is hard to speak of these things
how the voices of light enter the body
and begin to recite their stories
how the earth holds us painfully against
its breast made of humus and brambles
how we who will soon be gone regard
the entities that continue to return
greener than ever, spring water flowing
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds
passing over the hills and the ground
where we stand in the tremble of thought
taking the vast outside into ourselves.
– Billy Collins

Future Moments
The time of the future
Like the condor
Has arrived…
For a fresh meal
A rabbit has expired from toxic poisoning
The body of which the vulture consumes
The scavenger bird is immune to the toxicity of man
Then it flies away
Never to return
For man’s love of nature
Has arrived
The meal of blackberries is breathtaking
Taking man’s breath to the new era
Of lifeforce providing life
Waste material of the past
Is not wasted
But frequency modulated
By the alchemic mastery of man
To precious new moments
Of diamond rings
And golden weddings
The immunity of man is prevention
A condor appears as a white dove
For there’s nothing to defend
And it grooms the groom with peace
As pure as the sight he breathes
There’s a song in the church yard
The rabbit has returned in a music note
And lives for the moment
Of the bridal waltz
She dances alone
Her husband is romancing their future
She holds the vision in her movements
Until the romantic future arrives
And dances with his wife
The ceremony has a memory
Lost to the past world
It manifests as a gift
It’s from God
Their prayers are answered
She is with child
Of the one they saw before her birth
A first breath is taken
As pure as the heavenly garden
From where the whisper came
She’s arrived at age seventeen
And in love with the lifeforce
Who asks her for a kiss
With silent lips
He wears the colors of a preventer
Nothing can defend her
For she’s immune to offense
He is the knight of her nights
Yet they sleep alone
Their love reaches the other
With eyes closed in the inner sanctuary
Of everlasting touch
Their parents touch their dreams
Momentarily bringing back the past
Where they remember the twinkle in their father’s eyes
And love in their mother’s wombs
The compliment the treasured moments
Then flying between earth and heaven
A white stork arrives with their future
It’s not folklore
It’s a baby girl
Has made love in form
Invited to the garden party
Are fairies
Who attracts the baby’s smile to their wings
Of fairy floss and angel’s wishes
And gnomes
Who tell folklores of the past
Without a word of a lie
Their stories have grown into the future
Is that our little girl
Her lifeforce is strong
In the condor and the rabbit
Look at them now
Changing form in her mind
– Ron W. Anderson

As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain. you cannot be free of it.
– Eckhart Tolle​

Nothing stands up more free from blame in this world than a tree.
– Henry David Thoreau​

Sow an act, reap a habit;
sow a habit, reap a character;
sow a character, reap a destiny.
– Damien Keown

We need to outgrow our desire for retributive justice. We need to grow into restorative justice. These two assertions from neuroscientists – (1) that our default brain setting is karmic retributive justice, and yet (2) that restorative justice works – attest to the biblical fall into corruption (including a corrupted mind!) and our need for redemption. We now know what is best for us, and yet something in our very brains resists doing the good we know. Even sinners reciprocate good for good and evil for evil. But Jesus actively loves his enemies and seeks their highest good: their restoration to himself so we can be the people God always intended us to be. And he calls us to share in his love so that we might become people of grace and truth, kind reconciliation and firmly rooted integrity.
– Roger Wosley

The world is a budding transcendence. The contradiction between spirituality and technology is a Gordian knot of tension, but it’s resolution is a launch into higher planes of existential creation. To whole hog it into transhumanism without engaging in “spiritual” illumination of our inter-subjective world is to get lost in the myriad of trinkets we use to distract ourselves from the deep and real questions about the nature of our existence. On the other hand, nipping our technological innovation in the bud is essentially the same thing as aborting the pantheistic God we might mature into in it’s fetal stage. Our species would live the rest of it’s pathetic existence with the guilt and shame of having murdered it’s opportunity to strive for greatness. Not a good recipe for peace. We work on both sides contemporaneously and let the bulbs of contradiction plume into flowers of awesome realization.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

I am my silence. I am not the busyness of my thoughts or the daily rhythms of my actions. I am not the stuff that constitutes my world. I am not my talk. I am not my actions. I am my silence. I am the consciousness that perceives all things.
– Richard Wagamese

both moses and siddhartha felt they had to leave their homes if they wished to find liberation. but this is the essential dichotomy: moses’ desert was different from siddharta’s forest, for moses did not leave alone and did not leave his child behind. moses left with all the people, with all the families, and with all the animals. moses knew this well: as long as one person is not free, no one is. as long as one person is not happy, we are all trapped within the bondages of dukkha. if one person remains behind in egypt, we will never reach the land of promise. and siddharta, as the buddha, came to understood this too. for he left his tree behind and went to the marketplace to meet the people. and this is the concept of prophet and the concept of bodhisattva.
– hune margulies

There’s not much to the Buddha Dharma, but it’s always hard to find capable people.
– Ta Hui

The mystic’s experience of the indescribable and ineffable finds expression in the language of myth, ritual, poetry and theater. Myth happens out of time. The s…tory takes on a life of its own and becomes the re-enactment of a cosmic mystery play. The stories contain their own meaning, never to be confused with historical events. To understand them we need to shift beyond religious beliefs, academic understanding of the words and the need to prove a particular point. Story and art resonate with something formless, revealing beyond them an encounter with the transforming power of the moment, a mystical insight that at its most profound level we call gnosis.
– Rosamonde Ikshvàku Miller

Humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, and nostrils – all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies and antlers and tumbling streams – these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate.
 – David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

stand with your lover on the ending earth –

and while a (huge which by which huger than
huge) whoing sea leaps to greenly hurl snow

suppose we could not love, dear; imagine

ourselves like living neither nor dead these
(or many thousand hearts which don’t and dream
or many million minds which sleep and move)
blind sands, at pitiless the mercy of

time time time time time

– how fortunate are you and i, whose home
is timelessness: we who have wandered down
from fragrant mountains of eternal now

to frolic in such mysteries as birth
and death a day (or maybe even less)
 – E. E. Cummings

Hills haven the last cloud. However white. From brightest blue
Spills glitter of afternoon, more champagne than ever
Summer. Bubble and sparkle burst in
Tang, taste, tangle, tingle, delicious
On tongue of spirit, joyful in eye-beam. We know
This to be no mere moment, however brief,
However blessèd, for
Moment means time, and this is no time,
Only the dream, untimed, between
Season and season.
– Robert Penn Warren

I talk to myself and look at the dark trees, blessedly neutral. So much easier than facing people, than having to look happy, invulnerable, clever. With masks down, I walk, talking to the moon, to the neutral impersonal force that does not hear, but merely accepts my being.
– Sylvia Plath

Summer has run out. I am alone again. I am caught by the refraction from some deep, dark, and tender mirror that deflects the personal toward the universal. Within these inflections lies the range of my sensitivity.
– Anne Truitt

so many stories
end with a man

watching a trail
of bread crumbs

disappear and not
knowing how to feel.
– Amorak Huey

Do you think it’s an accident that you were born at a time when the culture that gave you life is failing? I don’t think it is. I think you were born of necessity with your particular abilities, with our particular fears, with your particular heartaches and concerns… I think if we wait to be really compelled by something… something big, well… we’re going to wait an awful long time and I don’t know if the state of our world can tolerate our holding out until we feel utterly compelled by something. I think it’s more like this, that we have to proceed now as if we’re utterly needed given the circumstances. That takes almost something bordering on bravado, it could be mistaken for megalomania easily, though I don’t think it is. It had a certain amount of nerviness in it or boldness for sure, something that’s not highly thought of in the culture I was born into unless you’re a star or something… regular people aren’t supposed to have those qualities. I say they are of course. That’s what we’ve got to bring to the challenges at hand, not waiting to be convinced that we’re needed but proceeding as if we are. Your insignificance has been horribly overstated… Consider the possibility that being born in a troubled time is not an affliction but a sign that you’re needed.
– Stephen Jenkinson

questions to ask yourself before you sleep:
did I do or say anything that really mattered
did I take the time to listen, and hear?
did I help anyone today?
did I say thank you today?
did I stand up today when it was needed?
did I work today, or make excuses?
did I love today, or just pretend?
did I live today, or waste my time?
– Eric Cockrell

Where are the peacemakers, the ones who can resolve conflicts before they flare up, who don’t need an enemy to feel like somebody?
– Thomas Moore

…What hurts
the soul? To live

without tasting the water of its own essence. People
focus on death and this

material earth. They have doubts about soul-water.
Those doubts can be

reduced! Use night to wake your clarity. Darkness
and the living water are

lovers. Let them stay up together. When merchants eat their big meals and

their dead sleep, we night thieves go to work.
– Rumi

We have gone astray for too long from life in community. The prevailing immoral American individualism is destroying the soul, common decency, and the kindness of our people.
– Carlos Malavé

broken, lost, scared to death, the Spanish adolescent drank again and again the sunshine from the fresh well of incantations from the American bard, ecstatics re-minders, re-heartening him.
years later, broken, lost, but strangely full of hope and a kind of fierce joy, the middle-aged man knew he could do one thing: to allow the sun-rise from his chest irradiate throught the streets of Seville…

Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me, if I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me.
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

It always troubled me that the truth doesn’t fit into one heart, into one mind, that truth is somehow splintered. There’s a lot of it, it is varied, and it is strewn about the world.
– Svetlana Alexievich

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: For them the whole thing was a sacred place, do you see? But most of our action is economically or socially determined, and does not come out of our life. I don’t know whether you’ve had the experience I’ve had, but as you get older, the claims of the environment upon you are so great that you hardly know where the hell you are. What is it you intended? You’re always doing something that is required of you this minute, that minute, another minute. Where is your bliss station, you know? Try to find it. Get a phonograph and put on the records, the music, that you really love. Even if it’s corny music that nobody else respects, I mean, the one that you like or the book you want to read, get it done and have a place in which to do it. There you get the “thou” feeling of life. These people had it for the whole world that they were living in.

I didn’t go to bookshops to buy. That’s a little bourgeois. I went because they were civilized places. It made me happy there were people who sat down and wrote and wrote and wrote and there were other people who devoted their lives to making those words into books. It was lovely. Like standing in the middle of civilization.
– Jerry Pinto

The Opposite of Virtue
by Yahia Lababidi
One might say, a vice is a vise
never mind if metal or moral,
it’s basically the same device

with cunning moveable jaws
designed to fix us in place
and cheat us of a chance at grace

Impervious to all advice, habit
hotly whispers false reassurance
while tightening its iron grip

It takes no effort to slip into vice,
but virtue is trickier to stick to
like the back of a bucking bronco.

Somehow this madness must cease.
We must stop now. – MLK

Basically, we are just impacting each other continuously. We are entraining with each other continuously. We are gaining and benefiting, losing and benefiting from our interaction continuously. It’s all energetic. So, when we start vibrating at a higher frequency in this dense matrix of humankind, you are shifting the vibration of the field, of not only your personal field, but people who you are connected to, karmically connected to. It goes down the channel of affinity, it goes the channel of past relationship, and it starts lifting it. 
So there is really anything to do, but to discover this Current and to nurture it in yourself. 
. . .
You are going to either meet the Current or resist the Current.
– Sat Shree

When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. What is the last word, then? Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.
– Garrison Keillor

the world just ended…
did you notice?
or were you too busy
mowing the grass,
washing the dishes,

watching tv
or arguing politics,

hating those
you deem different,

locking your doors,

making withdrawals,

or working your shift…

for almost enough money 
to barely survive?

the world just ended,

did you notice?

your cat wept!

– Eric Cockrell

Swirl sleeping in the waterfall!
On motionless pools scum appearing

Eaves formal on the zenith,
lofty city Kyoto,
wealthy, without antiquities!

Housebreakers clamber about,
builders raising floor upon floor
at the corner sites, replacing
gardens by bungalows.

In the town where I was known
the young men stare at me.
A few faces I know remain.

Whence comes man at his birth? or where
does death lead him? Whom do you mourn?
Whose steps wake your delight?
Dewy hibiscus dries: though dew
outlast the petals.

I have been noting events forty years.

On the twentyseventh May eleven hundred
and seventyseven, eight p.m., fire broke out
at the corner of Tomi and Higuchi streets.
In a night
palace, ministries, university, parliament
were destroyed. As the wind veered
flames spread out in the shape of an open fan.
Tongues torn by gusts stretched and leapt.
In the sky clouds of cinders lit red with the blaze.
Some choked, some burned, some barely escaped.
Sixteen great officials lost houses and
very many poor. A third of the city burned;
several thousands died; and of beasts,
limitless numbers.

Men are fools to invest in real estate.

Three years less three days later a wind
starting near the outer boulevard
broke a path a quarter mile across
to Sixth Avenue.
Not a house stood. Some were felled whole,
some in splinters; some had left
great beams upright in the ground
and round about
lay rooves scattered where the wind flung them.
Flocks of furniture in the air,
everything flat fluttered like dead leaves.
A dust like fog or smoke,
you could hear nothing for the roar,
                      bufera infernal!
Lamed some, wounded some.
This cyclone turned southwest.

Massacre without cause.


The same year thunderbolted change of capital,
fixed here, Kyoto, for ages.
Nothing compelled the change nor was it an easy matter
but the grumbling was disproportionate.
We moved, those with jobs
or wanting jobs or hangers on of the rest,
in haste haste fretting to be the first.
Rooftrees overhanging empty rooms;
dismounted: floating down the river.
The soil returned to heath.

I visited the new site narrow and too uneven,
cliffs and marshes, deafening shores, perpetual strong winds;
the palace a logcabin dumped amongst the hills
(yet not altogether inelegant).
There was no flat place for houses, many vacant lots,
the former capital wrecked, the new a camp,
and thoughts like clouds changing, frayed by a breath:
peasants bewailing lost land, newcomers aghast at prices.
No one in uniform: the crowds
resembled demobilized conscripts.

There were murmurs. Time defined them.
In the winter the decree was rescinded,
we returned to Kyoto;
but the houses were gone and none
could afford to rebuild them.

I have heard of a time when kings beneath bark rooves
watched chimneys.
When smoke was scarce, taxes were remitted.

To appreciate present conditions
collate them with those of antiquity.

Drought, floods, and a dearth. Two fruitless autumns.
Empty markets, swarms of beggars. Jewels
sold for a handful of rice. Dead stank
on the curb, lay so thick on
Riverside Drive a car couldnt pass.
The pest bred.
That winter my fuel was the walls of my own house.

Fathers fed their children and died,
babies died sucking the dead.
The priest Hoshi went about marking their foreheads
A, Amida, their requiem;
he counted them in the East End in the last two months,
fortythree thousand A’s.

Crack, rush, ye mountains, bury your rills!
Spread your green glass, ocean, over the meadows!
Scream, avalanche, boulders amok, strangle the dale!
O ships in the sea’s power, O horses
On shifting roads, in the earth’s power, without hoofhold!
This is the earthquake, this was
the great earthquake of Genryaku!

The chapel fell, the abbey, the minster and the small shrines
fell, their dust rose and a thunder of houses falling.
O to be birds and fly or dragons and ride on a cloud!
The earthquake, the great earthquake of Genryaku!

A child building a mud house against a high wall:
I saw him crushed suddenly, his eyes hung
from their orbits like two tassels.
His father howled shamelessly—an officer.
I was not abashed at his crying.

Such shocks continued three weeks; then lessening,
but still a score daily as big as an average earthquake;
then fewer, alternate days, a tertian ague of tremors.
There is no record of any greater.
It caused a religious revival.
Months …
Years …
Nobody mentions it now.

This is the unstable world and
we in it unstable and our houses.

A poor man living amongst the rich
gives no rowdy parties, doesnt sing.
Dare he keep his child at home, keep a dog?
He dare not pity himself above a whimper.

But he visits, he flatters, he is put in his place,
he remembers the patch on his trousers.
His wife and sons despise him for being poor.
He has no peace.

If he lives in an alley of rotting frame houses
he dreads a fire.
If he commutes he loses his time
and leaves his house daily to be plundered by gunmen.
The bureaucrats are avaricious.
He who has no relatives in the Inland Revenue,
poor devil!

Whoever helps him enslaves him
and follows him crying out: Gratitude!
If he wants success he is wretched.
If he doesnt he passes for mad.

Where shall I settle, what trade choose
that the mind may practise, the body rest?

My grandmother left me a house
but I was always away
for my health and because I was alone there.
When I was thirty I couldnt stand it any longer,
I built a house to suit myself:
one bamboo room, you would have thought it a cartshed,
poor shelter from snow or wind.
It stood on the flood plain. And that quarter
is also flooded with gangsters.

One generation
I saddened myself with idealistic philosophies,
but before I was fifty
I perceived there was no time to lose,
left home and conversation.
Among the cloudy mountains of Ohara
spring and autumn, spring and autumn, spring and autumn,
emptier than ever.

The dew evaporates from my sixty years,
I have built my last house, or hovel,
a hunter’s bivouac, an old
silkworm’s cocoon:
ten feet by ten, seven high: and I,
reckoning it a lodging not a dwelling,
omitted the usual foundation ceremony.

I have filled the frames with clay,
set hinges at the corners;
easy to take it down and carry it away
when I get bored with this place.
Two barrowloads of junk
and the cost of a man to shove the barrow,
no trouble at all.

Since I have trodden Hino mountain
noon has beaten through the awning
over my bamboo balcony, evening
shone on Amida.
I have shelved my books above the window,
lute and mandolin near at hand,
piled bracken and a little straw for bedding,
a smooth desk where the light falls, stove for bramblewood.
I have gathered stones, fitted
stones for a cistern, laid bamboo
pipes. No woodstack,
wood enough in the thicket.

Toyama, snug in the creepers!
Toyama, deep in the dense gully, open
westward whence the dead ride out of Eden
squatting on blue clouds of wistaria.
(Its scent drifts west to Amida.)

Summer? Cuckoo’s Follow, follow—to
harvest Purgatory hill!
Fall? The nightgrasshopper will
shrill Fickle life!
Snow will thicken on the doorstep,
melt like a drift of sins.
No friend to break silence,
no one will be shocked if I neglect the rite.
There’s a Lent of commandments kept
where there’s no way to break them.

A ripple of white water after a boat,
shining water after the boats Mansami saw
rowing at daybreak
at Okinoya.
Between the maple leaf and the caneflower
murmurs the afternoon—Po Lo-tien
saying goodbye on the verge of Jinyo river.
(I am playing scales on my mandolin.)
Be limber, my fingers, I am going to play Autumn Wind
to the pines, I am going to play Hastening Brook
to the water. I am no player
but there’s nobody listening,
I do it for my own amusement.

Sixteen and sixty, I and the gamekeeper’s boy,
one zest and equal, chewing tsubana buds,
one zest and equal, persimmon, pricklypear,
ears of sweetcorn pilfered from Valley Farm.

The view from the summit: sky bent over Kyoto,
picnic villages, Fushimi and Toba:
a very economical way of enjoying yourself.
Thought runs along the crest, climbs Sumiyama;
beyond Kasatori it visits the great church,
goes on pilgrimage to Ishiyama (no need to foot it!)
or the graves of poets, of Semimaru who said:
                      Somehow or other
                      we scuttle through a lifetime.
                      Somehow or other
                      neither palace nor straw-hut
                      is quite satisfactory.

Not emptyhanded, with cherryblossom, with red maple
as the season gives it to decorate my Buddha
or offer a sprig at a time to chancecomers, home!

A fine moonlit night,
I sit at the window with a headful of old verses.

Whenever a monkey howls there are tears on my cuff.

Those are fireflies that seem
the fishermen’s lights
off Maki island.

A shower at dawn
like the hillbreeze in the leaves.

At the pheasant’s chirr I recall
my father and mother uncertainly.

I rake my ashes.
                         Chattering fire,
soon kindled, soon burned out,
fit wife for an old man!

Neither closed in one landscape
nor in one season
the mind moving in illimitable

I came here for a month
five years ago.
There’s moss on the roof.

And I hear Soanso’s dead
back in Kyoto.
I have as much room as I need.

I know myself and mankind.
I dont want to be bothered.

(You will make me editor
of the Imperial Anthology?
I dont want to be bothered.)

You build for your wife, children,
cousins and cousins’ cousins.
You want a house to entertain in.

A man like me can have neither servants nor friends
in the present state of society.
If I did not build for myself
for whom should I build?

Friends fancy a rich man’s riches,
friends suck up to a man in high office.
If you keep straight you will have no friends
but catgut and blossom in season.

Servants weigh out their devotion
in proportion to their perquisites
What do they care for peace and quiet?
There are more pickings in town.

I sweep my own floor
—less fuss.
I walk; I get tired
but do not have to worry about a horse.

My hands and feet will not loiter
when I am not looking.
I will not overwork them.
Besides, it’s good for my health.

My jacket’s wistaria flax,
my blanket hemp,
berries and young greens
my food.

(Let it be quite understood,
all this is merely personal.
I am not preaching the simple life
to those who enjoy being rich.)

I am shifting rivermist, not to be trusted.
I do not ask anything extraordinary of myself.
I like a nap after dinner
and to see the seasons come round in good order.

Hankering, vexation and apathy,
that’s the run of the world.
Hankering, vexation and apathy,
keeping a carriage wont cure it.

Keeping a man in livery
wont cure it. Keeping a private fortress
wont cure it. These things satisfy no craving,
Hankering, vexation and apathy …

I am out of place in the capital,
people take me for a beggar,
as you would be out of place in this sort of life,
you are so          I regret it         so welded to your vulgarity.

The moonshadow merges with darkness
on the cliffpath,
a tricky turn near ahead.

Oh! There’s nothing to complain about.
Buddha says: ‘None of the world is good.’
I am fond of my hut …

I have renounced the world;
have a saintly

I do not enjoy being poor,
I’ve a passionate nature.
My tongue
clacked a few prayers.

– Basil Bunting, Chomei at Toyama

Do you hear yourself being called
to places that are far away,
beckoned by landscapes
intimately known and unimaginable?
Does it feel as if only strangers
can speak your name?
You must leave home.
You must leave HOME!
Escape the walls of your
upbringing any way you
Caterpillars do it.
Travel far and wide,
get lost,
be robbed,
over and over again,
realize that the world is big,
you are small.
Forget who you believed
yourself to be,
who you thought
others thought you were.
Become someone who can’t
answer simple questions like,
“What do you do?”
Totally and completely fail
to reach your intended destination,
though carrying a map and compass.
You are where you need to be
the moment after you
give up on all the landmarks.
Sit down and cry out
all of your laments.
Cry out the laments
all your ancestors
feared to cry.
You are indeed walking
in circles,
along a path marked
“Grief and Despair”
that leads directly
to soul.
You have arrived.
Arrived at the place
you began,
that it killed you to leave.
There is no entrance,
nor exit.
Never was.
When people ask you to tell the
story of your travels,
your journey,
of the road you have taken,
do so by living your life,
Now you are human.
– Jamie K. Reaser

People feel panicky at the thought that we might all have something in common, that they are giving up some exclusive hold on the truth. It is something like discovering you are a Frenchman and a human being at the same time. That is exactly the challenge that the great religions face in the Space Age.
– Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That

We have a memory cut in pieces. And I write trying to recover our real memory, the memory of humankind, what I call the human rainbow, which is much more colorful and beautiful than the other one, the other rainbow.
– Eduardo Galeano

Summer sings its long song, and all the notes are green.
But there’s a click, somewhere in the middle
of the month, as we reach the turning point, the apex,
a Ferris wheel, cars tipping and tilting over the top,
and we see September up ahead, school and schedules
returning. And there’s the first night you step outside
and hear the katydids arguing, six more weeks
to frost, and you know you can make it through to fall.
Dark now at eight, nights finally cooling off for sleep,
no more twisting in damp sheets, hearing mosquitoes’
thirsty whines. Lakes of chicory and Queen Anne’s lace
mirror the sky’s high cirrus. Evenings grow chilly,
time for old sweaters and sweatpants, lying in the hammock
squinting to read in the quick-coming dusk.
A few fireflies punctuate the night’s black text,
and the moonlight is so thick, you could swim in it
until you reach the other side.
 – Barbara Crooker

Summer is the season of motion, winter is the season of form. In summer everything moves save the fixed and inert. Down the hill flows the west wind, making wavelets in the shorter grass and great billows in the standing hay; the tree in full leaf sways its heavy boughs below and tosses its leaves above; the weed by the gate bends and turns when the wind blows down the road. It is the shadow of moving things that we usually see, and the shadows are themselves in motion. The shadow of a branch, speckled through with light, wavers across the lawn, the sprawling shadow of the weed moves and sways across the dust.
– Henry Beston

I am not interested in anything that doesn’t have a genuine heart to it. You’ve got to have soul in the hole. If that isn’t there, I don’t see the point.
– Nick Cave

Both the ancient tradition of Buddhist psychology and the modern one of psychotherapy recognize that recovering the capacity to feel is crucial to their disciplines. There can be no wholeness without an integration of feelings.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

If you learn to respond as if it’s the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
– David Steindl-Rast

All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect.

That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .
– Richard Rohr

Whatever you do in your life, have a practice. It doesn’t have to be qigong, or Taijiquan, or Taoism. It can be mathematics, music, art, writing, knitting, cooking, hiking, or nearly anything.
The wonderful thing about having a practice is that it is optimistic. You’re trying to get better. You’re working on improving yourself. You’re working to be free of your shortcomings. You’re trying to get answers to questions. When you reach a new level, it’s exhilarating.
And then you go on. And that’s optimistic too. If you simply attained mastery and then had nothing else to do, it would be awful. You would have the drudgery of repeating yourself and reaching the same moment, only to have no new possibilities afterward.
So have a practice and be thankful that it has stages, but no end. Then the thrill of practice will be with you year after year.

You aren’t supposed to learn that dedicated, committed effort can bring about significant changes of consciousness and understanding. That’s a very dangerous idea, and therefore it’s been wiped out of history.
– Noam Chomsky

Egalitarian democracy was a banquet table to which everyone was invited, but from the outset of the idea and the feast, the minority in power in the USA prevented the rest of us from partaking. And women rose up, and Black people rose up, and immigrants rose up, and queer people rose up, and Native Americans rose up, and Jews rose up, for ourselves and each other (and of course some of us belonged to multiple excluded categories), and we claimed our places at the table.

And some of the white men complained that there was not enough room for all these people they had earlier blocked from access (and some of the white women stuck with them, though lots didn’t). They were hungry because they wouldn’t sit down with us, and they attempted to smash the table, poison the food, weaponize the silver.

And then everyone else rose up again, weary that the battle wasn’t over, but committed to its goals. It’s our feast, and we’ll do our best to seat everyone who believes in the principles that prevail at this table. This table of plenty for all.
– Rebecca Solnit

No one has any answers, boy –
look for those with the best questions,
then get to work.
– E.M.

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare me a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German, and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
– Albert Einstein

Here’s the real question: how do you share a society with people who don’t even believe in society?
– Ethan Nichtern‏

Some of my most neurotically fierce bitterness is the result of realizing how untrue people have become.
– Jack Kerouac

How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?
– Cormac McCarthy

And so I have had to deal with wild
intractable people all my days
and have been led astray in a world
of shattered moonlight and beasts and trees
where no one ever curtsies anymore
or has an understudy.
– Mary Ruefle

From the standpoint of the Kabbalist path and the Sufi path, working on oneself is not a matter of liberating oneself; rather, it is a matter of helping God live, helping God manifest in the world. … The more we see that the true nature of the world is harmony and love, the less there will be general suffering and the more God will live consciously through everyone. When you see this, you see that the theistic and the Buddhist approaches are working toward the same thing: Whether you talk about the enlightenment of all sentient beings or God existing consciously through all sentient beings, you are talking about all the eyes of the universe seeing the same harmony.
– A. H. Almaas, Facets of Unity

‪In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.
– Angela Davis‬

People are different from each other, it is astonishing how few respectable conceptual tools we have for dealing with this self-evident fact.
– Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

There’s an old social justice saw that goes like this: your first thought is your social conditioning. Experiencing somatic-intellectual echoes and resonances isn’t always an indicator that truth is in the room. It can indicate that an idea is consistent with our internalized oppression and therefore easily integrated.
– Kelly Diels

If we were all alike; if we were millions of people saying do, re, mi, in unison, one poet would be enough and Hesiod himself would do very well. Everything he said would be in no need of expounding or would have been expounded long ago. But we are not all alike and everything needs expounding all the time because, as people live and die, each one perceiving life and death for himself, and mostly by and in himself, there develops a curiosity about the perceptions of others. This is what makes it possible to go on saying new things about old things. The fact is that the saying of new things in new ways is grateful to us.
– Wallace Stevens

the space all around you, the space between your eyes and the screen, that space is alive and awake. And that space is really listening and’s not your little mind that is really watching this, the whole space around you is watching you, watching this. …we can FEEL the Presence in the space around us, here, now and the reason we can feel that…it’s not just stillness, it is ALIVE…it’s your own, unbounded, unlimited wakefulness, unbounded consciousness that has been all along, but it’s been covered up by our identification with the bodymind and all the objects of experience…it’s not that the bodymind and the perceptions out here are a complete illusion, it’s not that. really it’s experiencing it in its true reality, that’s what’s been missing all along, the experience of Life in its true Reality.
– Lorne Hoff

Plunging over Niagara you hold
this picture in your hand: a summer day
arranging itself serenely onward, a lawn,
daisies, roses, a single pine in the sky
with a crow flying and a flicker calling, then
all stopped in the camera, one tremendous
instant that the world will never achieve again.

Now you own that, just for the cost of reading
this page. Assemble yourself and go on.
Don’t worry about it. No, I didn’t
mean you really plunge over Niagara.
– William Stafford

If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.
– Askhari Johnson Hodari

The banality of evil. (On Charlottesville, VA)
You know what worries me? It’s not that a group of racist idiots lit some tiki torches and decided to have a rally.

I worry that on Monday they’ll go back to their job in human resources and decide who gets hired and who gets fired.

They’ll put their uniform back on and ‘serve and protect.’

They’ll sit on a jury and decide the fate of a young person of color.

They’ll teach in a kindergarten class.

They’ll sit across from a couple, who came to this country, worked hard and saved, and have the power to approve or deny them a loan to purchase their first home.

They’ll decide an insurance claim.

They’ll give an estimate to repair the brakes on a mother’s only mode of transportation to get to work each day.

I don’t stay up lamenting the fact that racists feel emboldened to parade in the street. I stay up because racists have, do, and will apply their racist beliefs in their daily lives and, by extension mine, and they don’t do it carrying a banner to distinguish themselves.

It isn’t the theatrical that worries me. It’s the practical.

– source currently unknown

It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
– Ian McEwan

Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it.
– Henry David Thoreau

That is the purpose of stories, that no matter where we walk in the world, we walk twice: once in the warm sunshine, and once in the silvery light of every tale we have ever heard, seeing each thing as it is, and also as it was.
– Catherynne M. Valente

Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers *and* students.
– Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Still the finest Scottish political long poem by euros, Iain Crichton Smith’s ‘Chinese Poem’. This is no 4.

Today I read five books.
I watched Macleod weaving a fence
to keep the eagles from his potatoes.
A dull horse is cobwebbed in rain.
When shall our land consider itself safe
from the assurances of the third rate mind?
We lack I think nervous intelligence.
Tell them I shall serve in any capacity,
a field officer, even a private,
so long as I can see the future
through uncracked field glasses

When we can understand animals, we will know the change is halfway.
When we can talk to the forest, we will know that change has come.
– Andrew Joe, Skagit Tribe, Washington

If you’ve wondered what you would’ve done during slavery, the Holocaust, or Civil Rights movement…you’re doing it now.
– Aditi Juneja

Living differently day by day. Don’t ever let anyone tell you this isn’t resistance. I’m talking about the people who make us believe that it is possible to live differently, precisely because they themselves live differently.
– Sharon Blackie

What the really great artists do is they’re entirely themselves. They’re entirely themselves, they’ve got their own vision, they have their own way of fracturing reality, and if it’s authentic and true, you will feel it in your nerve endings.
– David Foster Wallace

All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.
– Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)

We need to transform every experience into the subtle stuff of the soul through stories, poems, dreams and deep conversations.
– Thomas Moore

She showed a way to penetrate mystery; which means, not to flood darkness with light so that darkness is destroyed, but to enter into darkness, mystery, so that it is experienced.
– poet and author, Denise Levertov, speaking of the poet Hllda Doolittle

The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center. You find the jewel, and it draws you off. In loving the spiritual, you can not despise the earthly. The purpose of the journey is compassion. When you have come past the pairs of opposites, you have reached compassion. The goal is to bring the jewel back to the world, to join the two things together.
– The Joseph Campbell Companion

I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

You start off irresistible, and then you become resistable then you become transparent not exactly invisible but as if you are seen through all plastic and then; this is the most amazing transformation, you become repulsive but that’s not the end of the story and at the end of the story you become cute and that’s where I am.
– Leonard Cohen

At this critical juncture, one’s individual calling will be interwoven with the fate of the earth and the collective destiny of all of humankind. The age of elitist narcissists is drawing to a close. The time for dreamers, visionaries and activist has arrived, and their time of arrival is long past due.
– Phil Rockstroh

We all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself or herself for the lack in another.
– Thomas Merton

The world is sacred.
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.

– Lao Tzu [Tao Te Ching, chapter 29]

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
– Charles Bukowski

The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are…psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics.
– C.G.Jung (1932)

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
– Alan W. Watts

Is there another Life? Shall I awake and find all this a dream? There must be we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.
– John Keats

All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A midnight cup of sake, a strange solitude. Is this all I’ve become? Old and alone, bending over a poem written in loneliness by some old Chinese bag of bones more than a thousand years ago.
– Sam Hamill

Aldous Huxley:
The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Would you rather know all the mysteries of the universe or know every outcome of every choice you make?
– Sally Taylor

The voice of the feminine, whether spoken by man or woman, speaks on behalf of life.
– Anne Baring

The moon did not become the sun.
It just fell on the desert
in great sheets, reams
of silver handmade by you.
The night is your cottage industry now,
the day is your brisk emporium.
The world is full of paper.
Write to me.
– Agha Shahid Ali

Time becomes restless in us. The human heart is full of quickening. Each pulse beat draws us towards new frontiers. In every moment we see and feel more than we can ever know. If we were to live everything, we would be too much for ourselves. Yet the life within us calls out for expression. This is what creativity serves. It endeavours to bring some of our hidden life to expression in order that we might come to see who we are. When we are creative, we help the unknown to become known, the visible to be seen and the rich darkness within us to become illuminated.
– John O’Donohue

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing. Thanks for all the joy their bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty? What would life be? Without a song or a dance, what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me.
– Abba

Where is this river
whose turbulence
carries my words and tears
my outrage and fragility?

What is this wind
that lifts me toward the firmament
until even angels fall
reminding me of gravity?

Where is this heart
whose blood flows
with democratic ideal
and a justice that feels like love?

What is this earth
that embraces my descent
taking me into the darkness
blotting out the light
revealing the mystery
that guides my path?
– David Bedrick

….something had broken and mushroomed in the wet winter earth of Lowell, ice cracking on the Concord, winds blew with a greeny freight of hope over excited trees-it seemed the earth was being reborn.
– Jack~Maggie Cassidy

I feel as though all of the things
that I spent my life discovering
and feel are important to share
just get buried under so much crap…
I feel as though none of it really matters anyway…
the world will go on the way it always has,
the millions of voices will
continue to clamor,
and in the end,
only the few significant friendships
and familial relationships
that manage to remain intact for me
will be all that ever really mattered…
– Ari Annona

But maybe the soul unfolds
like morning glories
when the world is easiest,

forgetful of its own fear.
– Amy Meng

Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark.
– Wendell Berry‏ 

We thank thee, Father, for these strange minds that enamor us against thee.
– Emily Dickinson

The undulating hours shaped like longing in
Extinction that yet still chants its
– Roger Santiváñez (translated by Elsa Costa)

The Big Loser
The guardian angel sits in the tree
above the black lip of street
the man walks down.
He calls the man Cargo.

The angel sees a pinewood box in place of the man,
and the street he walks is a boat,
the hull like a coal crater.

Somewhere in the real world there is such a boat and box.

The angels call these overlays dreams,
and believe they crop up because angels
can’t sleep but want to — 

space falls apart when you have unlimited time.

The cargo is rattling in the boat.
Maybe it’s just the waves, maybe it’s rats.
What’s the difference? Either way: it’s the box.

The angel sends the man
a happy vision from his past — the time

he fed birthday cake
to his goldfish
after an unsuccessful party.

The angel thinks he’s applying lemon oil
to the creaky, wounded wood of the box.
He knows it’s palliative, but it’s beautiful.

The man reaches the end of the street. He’s a sick man
and he starts to ponder death
as he often does these days:

All of death is right here
— the gods, the dark, a moon.
Where was I expecting death
to take me if everywhere it is
is on earth?

At life’s close, you’re like the child whose parents
step out for a drive — 

everyone else out on a trip,
but the child remains in the familiar bed,
feeling old lumps like new
in the mattress — the lights off — 

not sleeping, for who can sleep
with the promise of a world beyond the door?

That night the child dreams
he’s inside the box.

It’s burning hot, the heat coming
from bugs and worms
raping and devouring one another. He starts the hard work
of the imagination,
learning to minister to the new dream.

Perhaps all that’s needed is a little rain — 
for everyone to drink and have a bath.

Outside: a car humming,
somewhere, his mother’s singing.

My body’s work to break the world
into bricks and sticks
has turned inward.
– Max Ritvo

I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life…
– Jack Kerouac

I am hurt
I am scared
I want to live
I want to die
I don’t know
Where to turn
In the Void
And when
To cut
– Jack Kerouac

all thru playing the American
Now I’m going to live a good quiet life
– Jack Kerouac

Roam this city—
Unhappiness my middle name
I want to be saved,-
Sunk—can’t be
Won’t be
– Jack Kerouac

But maybe the soul unfolds
like morning glories
when the world is easiest,

forgetful of its own fear.
– Amy Meng

When I look at the world—I have to admit that the majority still want Good, even if timidly.
– Jonas Mekas

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a farther shore
Is reachable from here.
– Seamus Heaney‏

Everything has changed, except our way of thinking.
– Albert Einstein

I use the words you taught me. If they don’t mean anything any more, teach me others. Or let me be silent.
– Samuel Beckett

The clock! That twelve-figured moon skull, that white spider belly! How serenely the hands move with their filigree pointers, and how steadily! Twelve hours, and twelve hours, and begin again! Eat, speak, sleep, cross a street, wash a dish! The clock is still ticking. All its vistas are just so broad – and regular. (Notice that word.) Every day, twelve little bins in which to order disorderly life, and even more disorderly thought. The town’s clock cries out, and the face on every wrist hums or shines; the world keeps pace with itself. Another day is passing, a regular and ordinary day. (Notice that word also.)

Say you have bought a ticket on an airplane and you intend to fly from New York to San Francisco. What do you ask the pilot when you climb aboard and take your seat next to the little window, which you cannot open but through which you see the dizzying heights to which you are lifted from the secure and friendly earth?

Most assuredly you want the pilot to be his regular and ordinary self. You want him to approach and undertake his work with no more than a calm pleasure. You want nothing fancy, nothing new. You ask him to do, routinely, what he knows how to do – fly an airplane. You hope he will not daydream. You hope he will not drift into some interesting meander of thought. You want this flight to be ordinary, not extraordinary. So, too, with the surgeon, and the ambulance driver, and the captain of the ship. Let all of them work, as ordinarily they do, in confident familiarity with whatever the work requires, and no more. Their ordinariness is the surety of the world. Their ordinariness makes the world go around.

I, too, live in this ordinary world. I was born in it. Indeed, most of my education was intended to make me feel comfortable within it. Why that enterprise failed is another story. Such failures happen, and then, like all things, are turned to the world’s benefit, for the world has a need of dreamers as well as shoe-makers. (Not that it is so simple, in fact – for what shoemaker does not occasionally thump his thumb when his thoughts have, as we would say, “wandered”? And when the old animal body clamors for attention, what daydreamer does not now and again have to step down from the daydream and hurry to market before it closes, or else go hungry?)

And this is also true in creative work – creative work of all kinds – those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute the ordinary. It is, simply, something else. Its labor requires a different outlook – a different set of priorities. Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity.

Intellectual work sometimes, spiritual work certainly, artistic work always – these are forces that fall within its grasp, forces that must travel beyond the realm of the hour and the restraint of the habit. Nor can the actual work be well separated from the entire life. Like the knights of the middle ages, there is little the creatively inclined person can do but to prepare himself, body and spirit, for the labor to come – for his adventures are all unknown. In truth, the work itself is an adventure. And no artist could go about this work, or would want to, with less than extraordinary energy and concentration. The extraordinary is what art is all about.

Neither is it possible to control, or regulate, the machinery of creativity. One must work with the creative powers – for not to work with is to work against; in art as in spiritual life there is no neutral place. Especially at the beginning, there is a need of discipline as well as solitude and concentration. A writing schedule is a good suggestion to make to young writers, for example. Also, it is enough to tell them. Would one tell them so soon the whole truth, that one must be ready at all hours, and always, that the ideas in their shimmering forms, in spite of all our conscious discipline, will come when they will, and on the swift upheaval of their wings – disorderly; reckless; as unmanageable, sometimes, as passion.

No one yet has made a list of places where the extraordinary may happen and where it may not. Still, there are indications. Among crowds, in drawing rooms, among easements and comforts and pleasures, it is seldom seen. It likes the out-of-doors. It likes the concentrating mind. It likes solitude. It is more likely to stick to the risk-taker than the ticket-taker. It isn’t that it would disparage comforts, or the set routines of the world, but that its concern is directed to another place. Its concern is the edge, and the making of a form out of the formlessness that is beyond the edge.

Of this there can be no question – creative work requires a loyalty as complete as the loyalty of water to the force of gravity. A person trudging through the wilderness of creation who does not know this – who does not swallow this – is lost. 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. Such a person had better live with timely ambitions and finished work formed for the sparkle of the moment only. Such a person had better go off and fly an airplane.

There is a notion that creative people are absent-minded, reckless, heedless of social customs and obligations. It is, hopefully, true. For they are in another world altogether. It is a world where the third self is governor. Neither is the purity of art the innocence of childhood, if there is such a thing. One’s life as a child, with all its emotional rages and ranges, is but grass for the winged horse – it must be chewed well in those savage teeth. There are irreconcilable differences between acknowledging and examining the fabulations of one’s past and dressing them up as though they were adult figures, fit for art, which they never will be. The working, concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work – who is thus responsible to the work.

On any morning or afternoon, serious interruptions to work, therefore, are never the inopportune, cheerful, even loving interruptions which come to us from another. Serious interruptions come from the watchful eye we cast upon ourselves. There is the blow that knocks the arrow from its mark! There is the drag we throw over our own intentions. There is the interruption to be feared!

It is six a.m., and I am working. I am absent-minded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, wherever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.

There is no other way work of artistic worth can be done. And the occasional success, to the striver, is worth everything. The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time.
 – Mary Oliver
Of Power and Time

This morning I breathed in. It had rained
early and the sycamore leaves tapped
a few drops that remained, while waving
the air’s memory back and forth
over the lawn and into our open
window. Then I breathed out.

This deliberate day eased
past the calendar and waited. Patiently
the sun instructed the shadows how to move;
it held them, guided their gradual defining.
In the great quiet I carried my life on,
in again, out again.
 – William Stafford

We do not always proclaim loudly the most important thing we have to say. Nor do we always privately share it with those closest to us, our intimate friends, those who have been most devotedly ready to receive our confession.
– Walter Benjamin

The river bed’s silent
The autumn rains still haven’t come
– Jaz Allen-Sutton

Most of us find it difficult to know what we are feeling about anything. In any situation it is almost impossible to know what is really happening to us. This is one of the penalties of being human and having a brain so swarming with interesting suggestions and ideas and self-distrust.
– Ted Hughes

Well, the terrible fact is that though we are all more or less thinking of something or other all the time, some of us are thinking more and some less. Some brains are battling and working and remembering and puzzling things over all the time and other brains are just lying down, snoring and occasionally turning over.
– Ted Hughes

And then there are the days
where you cannot breathe
everything has turned to beauty
and iridescence.
you are a witness to this ordinary world.
This ordinary burning world
that lays itself out for you effortlessly,
in all its absurdity and sanctity,
in its sorrow and its light,
in its compassion and its terror.
All One. All Art.
And you are a Doorway today.
You are a Magic Theatre
where the heart plays
its paupers and its princesses
and pretends to fluff its lines.
Do you remember.
Do you remember.
His first day at school?
How he slipped through your fingers then?
So eager to leave, and did he know?
The frosted spider webs
clinging to the office bins
when you went out for a quick cigarette
and how they cracked you open
without warning and how they broke you open
without warning and how you couldn’t
tell a soul.
You had a secret with the spiders.
And then mother’s courage.
Her snow white hair tumbling out in your hands.
Her translucence in the last light.
Where you held her.
She had become see-through.
Some days.
Some days.
You try to form words but none will come.
You try to write but the pen won’t move.
You try to speak but the silence silences.
Some days are see-through too.
It matters not how much money you have.
Your status in this world.
The strength of your immune system.
The number of weeks you have left.
It matters how completely you inhabit this life.
How deeply you let the days penetrate.
And crack you.
And make you beg
for more
for less
for more
for less
for more.
Don’t be ashamed to break down today!
To weep. To laugh. To snort. To dribble.
To not know. To admit all your mistakes.
All your damn mistakes.
To begin again.
To be a puddle of nothing on the ground.
To be translucent and soft.
Awakening is not a hobby, friend.
It’s a radical reframing of your entire existence.
It’s the devastation of the dreamer.
And in the rubble,
such intensity.
Such ferocity.
Such light.
In the devastation
we can truly meet.
And knit with the spiders at dawn.
Giggle with the afternoon crows.
Play hide-and-seek
with the grown ups;
make them forget their melancholy,
if only for a moment.
Sing star-mantras with the wolves.
And live the days.
Somehow live through the days.
Where the beauty is just too relentless.
Where we haven’t got the strength to stand.
Where we cannot breathe ourselves.
And so Love breathes us instead.
And warms us from the inside.
And fills us with new hope
under an iridescent sky.
– Jeff Foster

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example,’The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’
– Pablo Neruda

The usual idea we have is that meditation is to enlighten us, make us better, give us peace, or whatever. But for these people, meditation is not for oneself. It is an act of service for the sake of the cosmos. The purpose wasn’t to get something out of it. It was to attune oneself to the cosmos for the sake of the cosmos. I suspect that in traditional shamanic cultures this is implicit. But in the West, we’ve somehow become so individualized that we think it’s for us. It is for the sake of the cosmos and it has to do with the senses. It all comes back to the senses.
– Peter Kingsley

Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.
– Stephen Hawking

Certain people think they will feel good if certain things happen… The trick is : you have to feel good for no reason.
– Richard Bandler

Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.
– Henry Ward Beecher

Art can transform lives. It gives us the power to question, to confront, to explore, and to challenge how we think about the world.
– Lucy Liu

There is in souls a sympathy with sounds: And as the mind is pitch’d the ear is pleased With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave; Some chord in unison with what we hear Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
– William Cowper

Between the two of us the promise of a moonlit night is still alive.
The wind silently says in whispers: one dream is still alive.
– Noshi Gilani

An unsuitable friend is one who is fond of distractions, totally immersed in ordinary worldly activities, and who does not care in the least about achieving li…beration—a friend who has no interest or faith in the Three Jewels. The more time you spend with such a person, the more the three poisons will permeate your mind. Even if you do not initially agree with their ideas and actions, if you spend a lot of time with unsuitable friends, you will eventually be influenced by their bad habits. Your resolve to act positively will decline, and you will waste your life. Such people will prevent you from spending any time studying, reflecting, and meditating—which are the roots of liberation. And they will make you lose whatever qualities you may have developed, especially compassion and love—which are the very essence of the teachings of the Great Vehicle. An unsuitable friend is like a bad captain who steers his ship onto the rocks. Such people are your worst enemy. You owe it to yourself to stay away from them. In contrast, being with people who embody or aspire to gentleness, compassion, and love will encourage you to develop those qualities so essential to the path. Inspired by their example, you will become filled with love for all beings, and come to see the inherent negativity of attachment and hatred. Authentic spiritual friends are those who have received teachings from the same teacher as yourself and, detached form worldly concerns, are devoting themselves to practice in secluded places. In the company of such friends, you will naturally be influenced by their good qualities, just as birds flying around a golden mountain are bathed in its golden radiance.
– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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

Buddhism is “just a bunch of true stuff that’s hard to apply but really helpful if you just try to practice it a little.”
– Ethan Nichtern

Challenge your Weltanschauung once in a while. Change!
– Hannah Hennebert

by Jane Goodall
There are many windows through
which we can look out into the…
world, searching for meaning …
… Most of us, when we ponder on the
meaning of our existence,
peer through but one of these
windows onto the world.
And even that one is often misted over
by the breath of our finite humanity.
We clear a tiny peephole and stare through.
No wonder we are confused by the
tiny fraction of a whole that we see.
It is, after all, like trying to
comprehend the panorama of the
desert or the sea through
a rolled-up newspaper.

I was no longer an intellectual-but-nervous twenty-year-old. Older now, I had grown tired of using the life of the mind to absent myself from a reality that kept me scared and inwardly running. I wanted to fully inhabit my life, the laughter and the ecstasy of it as well as the equally holy times of sorrow and anxiety and frustration. Having put aside spiritualist metanarratives and exotic cosmologies, I was now more interested in tasting the vitality of the actual life I was living—an embodied life full of laughter and pain and particularity and sacredness and uncertainty—rather than keeping myself safe from finitude and sadness by holding all experiences at arm’s length.
– James H. Reho

The idea of one side suffering defeat while the other side triumphs is out of date. Instead we have to develop dialogue. We have to make an effort if we want a peaceful, more compassionate world. It requires education, based on patience, tolerance and forgiveness. Too often violence results from greed, so we also need contentment and self-discipline.
– The Dalai Lama

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a deep spirituality, an essence inside of everything that is beyond our conflicts and all diversity. However, when I am able to reside in that place and look upon the living faces that make up our planet, I don’t become blind to that diversity; actually, I see it even more clearly. I see the flowering and nurturing of our diversity as part of the magnificence of the universe and I am called to savor it, protect it, and love it, not dismiss it or deny it in favor of a muted oneness.
– David Bedrick

Only what is really oneself has the power to heal.
– C.G. Jung

Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.
– Kobayashi Issa

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.
– Pearl Buck

Ask yourself: Do I want to continue being a great practitioner of ignorance, anger, and desire? Or do I want to become a great practitioner of wisdom and compassion instead?
Do not waste your precious human rebirth by making the wrong decision.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Delusions are inexhaustible. Transform them with every breath that you bring into the body and every breath that you give away. Realize that you are YOU.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

Our trait of sensitivity means we will also be cautious, inward, needing extra time alone. Because people without the trait (the majority) do not understand that, they see us as timid, shy, weak, or that greatest sin of all, unsociable. Fearing these labels, we try to be like others. But that leads to our becoming overaroused and distressed. Then that gets us labeled neurotic or crazy, first by others and then by ourselves.
– Elaine N. Aron

Mythologies serve as flexible conduits between sacred experiences and the human capacity to articulate these experiences. In the process of expanding consciousness (achieved partially as a result of syncretism), a situation is created where the former paradigm of consciousness, which always becomes a less effective mode, threatens, through the process of enantiodromia, to turn upon itself in a collecti…ve experience of ‘annihilation of self/annihilation of other’ before it can transform itself. Enantiodromia, the instant and complete reversal of an existing situation or truth, is enacted by the archetypal character of the trickster, who moves between realities and worlds seamlessly, mediating polarities. During any kind of a radical shift, ideas and alliances move back and forth between these often conflicting poles of perspective, until some kind of new equilibrium is established.
Gebser asserts that these radical shifts in consciousness that he calls mutations are most easily recognized in a culture’s stories and visual imagery. These changes in imagery often have to do with expanding perspectives that reflect a changing awareness of space and time relationships. Gebser asserts that while biological mutations and consciousness mutations share certain features (like hereditary traits and new potentialities,) biological mutations lead to a specialization (or reduction) of function within a particular environment, what he refers to as a minus mutation, while consciousness mutations do the opposite, they involve expansion. Each phase of a rising mutational consciousness “unfolds toward overdetermination: toward a structural enrichment and dimensional increment” and this radical and unavoidable shift in consciousness results in an efficient “plus mutation” aspect elicited by a spiritual principle (38). Each rising, or efficient phase of consciousness (creative aspect) necessarily results in a corresponding deficient phase (destructive aspect) of the old paradigm. These “consciousness mutations do not assume or require the disappearance of previous potentialities and properties,” instead they are “immediately integrated into the new structure and overdetermined” (39). The creative sphere is the realm where mutations are re-imaged; “Creativity is not bound to space and time, and its truest effect can be found in mutation, the course of which is not continuous in time but rather spontaneous, acausal, and discontinuous” (313).
– Ari Annona

Sometimes you have to be that uncomfortable voice in the crowd. The one that doesn’t get liked, shared or even understood. That’s the truth teller.
– Bairavee Balasubramaniam

This body that you have now, like the bridle used to direct a horse, is the pivot on which your destiny turns. It is now up to you to decide between happiness and suffering.
– Khenpo Ngawang Palzang

Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful, and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.
– Zadie Smith

It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call “observation” in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call “chance” when they are made by electrons.
– Freeman Dyson

A common misconception is the belief that thinking is the creation of thought. Rather, it is the reception of thought from a source which has no name and from a place that cannot be found. Since one can’t decide to think nor can one decide thoughts’ contents, why does one claim their ownership? Is every sound Wu Hsin’s because he can hear them?
– Wu Hsin

These are not the lines that came to me
while walking in the woods
with no pen
and nothing to write on anyway.

They are gone forever,
a handful of coins
dropped through the grate of memory,
along with the ingenious mnemonic

I devised to hold them in place –
all gone and forgotten
before I had returned to the clearing of lawn
in back of our quiet house

with its jars jammed with pens,
its notebooks and reams of blank paper,
its desk and soft lamp,
its table and the light from its windows.

So this is my elegy for them,
those six or eight exhalations,
the braided rope of syntax,
the jazz of the timing,

and the little insight at the end
wagging like the short tail
of a perfectly obedient spaniel
sitting by the door.

This is my envoy to nothing
where I say Go, little poem –
not out into the world of strangers’ eyes,
but off to some airy limbo,

home to lost epics,
unremembered names,
and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,

which, like a fantastic city in pencil,
erased itself
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.
 – Billy Collins

No, this was not mere rain.
Knowing it wouldn’t end, mothers pulled whole lives to rooftops
and wailed for light, wept a blue note we won’t know. A tear? Rain?
Still they are there, gasping for new sky,
– Patricia Smith

If you’re going to be really brutally honest with yourself, it takes more discipline than you can ever imagine it takes. I’ve taken my typewriter to the hospital with me for kidney infections. I have taken it on camping trips, and the sand has gotten in the keys. It is just like the most fierce habit you can imagine. You can’t get it off your back. It is there, and it stares at you like a conscience.
– Erma Bombeck

A true vocation requires shedding anything that would impede or obscure the call. A true pilgrimage requires letting go of the very things most people try to hold onto. In seeking after what the soul desires we become pilgrims with no home but the path the soul would have us follow. As the old proverb says, “Before you begin the journey, you own the journey. Once you have begun, the journey owns you.” After all, what good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.
– Michael Meade

We are looking for a way to feel more real, but we do not realize that to feel more real we have to push ourselves further into the unknown.
– Mark Epstein

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
– Margaret Atwood

A Speed of Soul Thought
Somewhere someone needs help.
If you cant get there yourself.
Take a deep breath, 
Breathe in.

Hold that someone in your heart.

Lighten the weight of their troubles,
Breathe out.
Open your heart.
Release what you cannot change.
Send calm and courage
And human connection.
For the nights can be filled with shadows,
And sometimes the waters rise.
Someone Somewhere needs help.
Send love.
It matters.
– Carrie Newcomer

…I’m taking off
on my own two feet. I’m going
to clear my head…
to listen to trees and silence,
to see if I can still breathe.

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

Health comes not only from eating good food, but from thinking good thoughts and having a healthy attitude.
– Marc David

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
– Mary Shelley

Man’s status in the natural world is determined, therefore, by the quality of his thinking.
– Manly P. Hall

Unless you viciously carve out time to work on yourself it’s not going to happen. If your mind is always busy then you have no sense of the world you live in. Because there is no communication, there is no space within which to see what we are doing and you may not realize what you have given up until you are on your deathbed. By being busy you are basically giving away your human existence.
– Reggie Ray

Write gently but precisely, with the relaxation of a tired craftsperson newly excited by beauty. Sketch your heart. Detail a story helpful to all those who read it. The most helpful thing of all is catharsis; no more and no less than the truth—and this helps you, too.
– Waylon Lewis⠀

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter, which is why even now we seem to be waiting
For something whose appearance would be its vanishing –
The sound, say, of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf,
Or less. There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells us as much, and was never written with us in mind.
 – Mark Strand

All morning with dry instruments
The field repeats the sound
Of rain
From memory
And in the wall
The dead increase their invisible honey
It is August
The flocks are beginning to form
I will take with me the emptiness of my hands
What you do not have you find everywhere
 – W. S. Merwin

I am writing the story of yesterday, not because there was something remarkable about yesterday, or anything, to put it better, that one might call remarkable, but because I have long wanted to tell the internal side of one day of life.
– Leo Tolstoy

Stay deep within yourself and stay alone there–that is where your poems come from, and that has nothing to do with audience. You are the audience.
– Stanley Plumly

Before the katydids did what they do,
serenading nightly their lady loves
& leaving my ears ringing like a buzz-saw,
or, later, the crickets began ticking off
the seconds to the end of summer, the air
fell quiet as the calm between breaths held
while listening for an oriole, the early
evening as cool & sweet as orange sherbet.
The lawn lay at my feet, as flat & brownish
green as the nearby Atlantic at low tide,
in what should have been my fiftieth summer
passed swimming in the incomparable
Aegean & translating into English
the ancient world there, but at this late hour
I must get used to loving summer here
where I will spend forever, starting now.
– Randy Blasing, Summer Evening in New England

I too have an old ache that doesn’t quite
go away. I stand at the kitchen window
looking up at the emptying branches. If I
could brighten whatever is tinted blue
with sadness in the world tonight,
I’d give up the cool side of my pillow.
I’d wade through streets filled with water
to bear away who I could in my arms.  
– Luisa A. Igloria

Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.
– Robert Rubin

You once said that you would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen, in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing oneself to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind … That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough,
– Franz Kafka, letter to a fiancée

Loneliness clarifies.
– Philip Larkin

Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying.
– Albert Camus

by Philip Larkin
Swerving east, from rich industrial shadows
And traffic all night north; swerving through fields
Too thin and thistled to be called meadows,
And now and then a harsh-named halt, that shields
Workmen at dawn; swerving to solitude
Of skies and scarecrows, haystacks, hares and pheasants,
And the widening river’s slow presence,
The piled gold clouds, the shining gull-marked mud,
Gathers to the surprise of a large town;
Here domes and statues, spires and cranes cluster
Beside grain-scattered streets, barge-crowded water,
And residents from raw estates, brought down
The dead straight miles by stealing flat-faced trolleys,
Push through plate-glass swing doors to their desires –
Cheap suits, red kitchen-ware, sharp shoes, iced lollies,
Electric mixers, toasters, washers, driers –
A cut-price crowd, urban yet simple, dwelling
Where only salesmen and relations come
Within a terminate and fishy-smelling
Pastoral of ships up streets, the slave museum,
Tattoo-shops, consulates, grim head-scarfed wives;
And out beyond its mortgaged half-built edges
Fast-shadowed wheat-fields, running high as hedges
Isolate villages, where removed lives
Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence;
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.

Martin Shaw:
We are each a strange container of unique experience, a castle full of erotic chambers, dust-filled cupboards of old bones, great halls with unending feasting, small towers of arcane literature, and balconies where heart broken lovers hurl themselves into the moat. All this is going on inside us all the time.

The patterning of crows over a winter field is an oracular thought of the mud, sky and bird; the elegant procession of the reindeer across a spring meadow is part of some epic train of imagination that has been running for tens of thousands of years. The swift dive of a killer whale is a new vision from an ancient sea.

when the cities are gone and all the ruckus has died away. when sunflowers push up through the concrete and asphalt of the forgotten interstate freeways. when the Kremlin & the Pentagon are turned into nursing homes for generals, presidents, & other such shit heads. when the glass-aluminum sky scraper tombs of Phoenix, AZ barely show above the sand dunes. why then, by God, maybe free men & wild women on horses can roam the sagebrush canyonlands in freedom…and dance all night to the music of fiddles! banjos! steel guitars! by the light of a reborn moon!
– Edward Abbey

Hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most from the ecological imbalances.
– Pope Francis Aug. 31, 2017

It is no secret that, for many, intimate relationship is one of the great amplifiers of the unlived life. We can count on our partners to relentlessly illuminate everything that is unresolved within us. Not because they have some agenda to do so, but simply by the nature of the crucible that is formed when we allow another to truly matter to us.
We come to our relationships with an already-existing patterning that formed long ago. While this template longs to be updated, until reconfiguration it looms over us and colors our perception. It functions by way of a time machine where, when activated, it is as if we have left the “here and now,” crossed the liminal, and found ourselves back in the “there and then.”
There are aspects of ourselves that are aching to come out of the shadows and into the warmth of holding awareness. Not to harm, but as emissaries of wholeness. There is nothing like a close relationship to remind us of the orphaned feelings and vulnerable parts that have lost their way in the tangle of somatic and psychic pathways. They are exhausted from a long voyage to reach us, but have not given up.
The reminder of this truth can at times be a bit agonizing, as the other seems to have extraordinary powers to open the raw, tender, and naked dimensions of our being. But this achiness is sacred. Inside the ache is a jewel. Go there.
Please be kind to your partners and the inevitable conflict that will arise as you make this journey together. Training ourselves to harness the energy of conflict – and engage it directly, skillfully, and with an open heart – is the activity of inner and outer revolution, and requires the encoding of new circuitry.
The transformative art of rupture and repair is one that is endlessly profound, revealing that relationships of vast depth and meaning are *not* those free of conflict, but ones where working through conflict is embraced as path, where the participants are transformed into an alive vessel of purification, love, and healing.
This is a difficult realization to come by, and one that is unfortunately not all that popular in a world that has forgotten the gold buried in the dark. But here we are. It is up to us to bring these fruits into the collective.
– Matt Licata

Everyone has a different role to play in the world and each role brings a different perspective. Some roles are working in the muck of humanity, some from the skies, some from the void, some from the hidden not-so-nice realms, and so on. And we will never all agree on anything because different roles require different understandings and articulations.
That being said, even if you disagree with the philosophy a person takes – and I know I’ve been pushing major buttons – love them anyway. Suss out their energy and see where their vibration is at. If they come from a place of discernment and compassion – and so do you – really the words do not matter and the energy is one and the same. ❤
That way discernment is no longer conflated with judgement and shame. One energy seeks clarity and accountability, the other seeks to shut you down and paralyse your access to your own gifts. Sometimes we feel shame when we realize we have not accounted for something and that is a natural human reaction. Course correct and all’s good.
And sometimes we are way too attached to what we think we know and feel. This equally needs to be said. A challenge to your truth should only make you reflect upon the truth of your perception. Defensiveness does not cut it, clarity does.
One who seeks to shame isn’t interested in your growth. And just wants you to crumble. Has nothing to do with clarity, or love.
Move past the need to agree on all things at a superficial level and look at the energy level. Ripping that mask off will bring much clarity. And much more peace.
That being said, it is equally time to tear the sheepskin off the wolves that wear the mask for Love but do not carry its energy. ( #notallwolves ) Also look at the gap between philosophy and direct experience.
Choose friends and teachers who will hold the mirror of truth up to you. It might not be a pleasant experience, but one will love you even if you see the world differently, the other will try to break you down if you differ because your disagremeent invalidates their very fragile sense of self. Your challenge is to tell the two apart.
A third type of shadow-bone teacher will break the pieces that are broken (often the bits that tell you they are fine….but are not) and realign them with love so deep that it appears like the blackest of the shadow and yet it brings out the gold. It takes a certain type of life and perspective to do that work with depth, integrity and detached compassion.
Some love is cuddly and nurturing and sweet, some love rages and roars like a cosmic fire-tiger from the heart of the void. And some love will simply freak you out till you get it.
– Bairavee Balasubramaniam

Who has not sat before his own heart’s curtain? It lifts: and the scenery is falling apart.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Against Science Fiction
Imagine, if you will, a planet.
A people who dream of traveling in space.
They dig up all the minerals from the earth.
They poison all their rivers and streams.
Then they die.
Sentient life does not last
unless it understands
its limitations.
Suppose there was once life on other planets.
They faced two options.
Shall we perish in the urge for infinity?
Or shall we understand our finitude and live?
I think they, too, will have perished
in the urge for infinity,
or understood their finitude,
and lived.
Dreams of spacefaring
lead to premature extinction.
– Peter Capofreddi

One of the challenges in perception is knowing whether what you are seeing or hearing is actually what is there. The more sensitive you become, the more privy you are to such distortions. Which is why I don´t find the unhealthy aspects of ego or shadow to be the worst thing to ever befall a seeker. It makes the possibility of misperception higher, but often there are external factors at play.
And when you look at the larger picture … ego-games look to be the least of your problems. Maintaining a healthy relationship with ego and shadow makes misinterpretation far less likely, but does not erase the possibility.
There is a a great deal of resistance to those who are highly attuned at this time. And even when they are clear, those who seek to read their fields encounter obstacles in truly seeing them for what they are. The causes of these are numerous. I particularly enjoy Bernhard Guenther´s work in explicating these sources in a way that allows the seeker to understand better, rather than to be caught up in fear.
In short:
It pays to question yourself. Question if what you are seeing is true, whether it is in yourself or in another person. This is not the same thing as self-doubt but is the basis of sound energetic hygiene. Especially in times of great distortion.
– Bairavee Balasubramaniam

So, you want to know how I handle Trump? I wake in the middle of the night, trembling with fear, dread and powerlessness, until dawn comes and I catch sight of you good people.
– Karen Maezen Miller

We in the “developed” world seem to have many auditory strategies that insulate us from the presence of silence, simplicity, and solitude. When I return to Wes…tern culture after time in desert, mountain or forest, I discover how we have filled our world with a multiplicity of noises, a symphony of forgetfulness that keeps our won thoughts and realizations, feelings and intuitions out of audible range.
– Joan Halifax

Courage is continuing to perform your daily tasks, and being hopeful despite the odds, not inflicting your fears on others, and remaining sensitive to their needs and expectations, and also not supposing, because you’re dying, nothing matters any more.
– Leonard Michaels

You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better.
– Mary Oliver

Language is not the lowborn, gawky servant of thought and feeling; it is need, thought, feeling, and perception itself. The shape of sentences, the song in its syllables, the rhythm of its movement, is the movement of the imagination.
– William Gass

The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It bring us together in a peaceful, loving state.
– Stephen Hawking

Happiness, then, is the confidence that pain and disappointment can be tolerated, that love will prove stronger than aggression. It is release from the attachment to pleasant feelings, and faith in the capacity of awareness to guide us through the inevitable insults to our own narcissism.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

It is the way of dreams to give us more than we ask.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Until you perfect the view, do not count your practice in years or months. But instead decide to dedicate the whole remainder of your life to Dharma practice. This is the approach of the very best practitioners.
– Yangthang Rinpoche

…I am lingering at the edge
of a broken heart, striking relentlessly
against the flint of hard will.
It’s coming apart.
And everyone knows it….

So do squash erupting in flowers

the color of the sun.

So does the momentum of grace

gathering allies

in the partying mob.

The heart knows everything.

I remember when there was no urge

to cut the land or each other into pieces,

when we knew how to think
in beautiful.

There is no world like the one surfacing.

I can smell it as I pace in my square room,

the neighbor’s television

entering my house by waves of sound

makes me think about buying

a new car, another kind of cigarette

when I don’t need another car

and I don’t smoke cigarettes.

A human mind is small when thinking

of small things.

It is large when embracing the maker

of walking, thinking and flying.

If I can locate the sense beyond desire,

I will not eat or drink

until I stagger into the earth

with grief.

I will locate the point of dawning

and awaken

with the longest day in the world.
– Joy Harjo

I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess’d with rumors, full of idle dreams,
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear…
– King John

I am suggesting that the radical of poetry lies not in the resolution of doubts but in their proliferation.
– C.D. Wright

A lot of times we think commitment is all on my side; I’m going to commit to this marriage, and I’m gonna sign on to it, and I’m gonna do it–and if I change my mind I can just leave. Actually, in the olden times in all the cultures, commitment is partly you, but it’s also the way in which reality changes when you make a commitment. Reality actually comes in and it takes you at your word. That’s the idea of sacred bond.
– Reggie Ray

Via Matthew Fox:
How ludicrous, – impossible!…
What divine madness!
Such wonder!
Such sweetness!
You want to be a poet? – Listen to this:
A poet is a sculptor of liquid language;
Witness of spirit made flesh;
Keeper of experience of feeling – held still for an instant,
Then turned to blood.
To be a poet, make a friend of darkness,
Let the sun catch fire.
Ah! But you sit at your daily tasks
Assigned by the voices of mothers and fathers
and lovers of systems.
You must quit your squalid hut – this temporary footed shelter.
Rise up and become the Voices Ear,
The Dancers Dance.
Throw off the chain of circumstance:
Step into the shadow of night, into the certainty of illusion,
The wisdom of uncertainty.
The sun dawns in the darkness –
Untold treasures just for the speaking.

I began to cry, and you to laugh.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.
– Plutarch

What’s the furthest corner? Because that’s where I want to be, alone with the only thing that I love.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

by Melissa La Flamme
You receive
an offer…
for Good Work,
a job 
no one
Dirty Work,
Work that will unmake you,
rip out your underpinnings
to make soul.
Work, messy
as Murder,
not cold-
but broken-
hearted, openly
a Murder
not of crows,
but of patterns;
a rupture
of the core of you
to cor-rupt
your outmoded,
Operating System,
carrying archaic
seeded in you
before starlight,
before birthright;
a metacode
for a wound
that never heals,
a deformity come
to reveal
a dismembering,
You are dying
to re-member
what ancient desert floor
and writhing forest canopy
invite in your heart,
or what love is.
And somewhere
between night’s cool
moon breath
and sun’s custard
for this Work,
will find
no hazard
No hard hat,
no Hard
no Soft
no Other
to protect you,
beyond you.
No guarantees
of a place to land.
This is
safe, intellectual,
you made
on some self-improvement
project Weekend
fitting neatly in a mandala
you hung on your wall
“while Rome burns,”
our cities and hearts
corrupted, explode.
This is
no ticket to
to clean you out,
inflate you,
wrap you in another
culture’s colors,
keeping you
from your own
where you silently
learn to use
what you find
inside to make
your own Medicine
and give it away —
free from the stain
of the beaming
and purchased
the toxic praise
of some
Illustrious other
paid well
and prostituted by
No, it’s just you here.
You and your gods,
in terrible Beauty,
a lifetime’s
your precious Name
on the altar,
from promises
of meaning
or mayhem.
If you’re lucky,
and Wildness
will witness you,
tell you something
real you cannot repeat,
sing you
something strong
and hungry
like smoke,
alive and moving
between these lines,
an old prayer with
no way out
but to walk
tender, fierce,
bare through the fire.
In the company
of the deep.
You have come to
cry for a vision because
your people are suffering,
and so are you.
Here, with only your soul’s
tracking device —
a sonar made of god
what —
a technology
in you as you
the searing notes
of what astonishing
smells like
as it melts
the bars,
the doors
and the holy
you thought
you were
frees the jailer
of your true nature.
– Melissa La Flamme

We live in a world in which
poets are the weirdest of us.
We look at the tiny most
elemental thing btwn us
& act like…
words mean everything.
– Amy King

So much that happens happens in small ways
That someone was going to get around to tabulate, and then never did,
Yet it all bespeaks freshness, clarity and an even motor drive
To coax us out of sleep and start us wondering what the new round
Of impressions and salutations is going to leave in its wake…
This time. And the form, the precepts, are yours to dispose of as you will,
As the ocean makes grasses, and in doing so refurbishes a lighthouse
On a distant hill, or else lets the whole picture slip into foam.
– John Ashberry

The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of the Ignorance, are herself in veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance. But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world- pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda. In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.
– Sri Aurobindo,”The Mother” with “Letters on the Mother”

The magnitude of the love that lay at the font of creation was beyond description. To awaken to this love was to remember a primordial decision that I had somehow participated in. It was part of my spiritual genetic make-up, something I had inherited along with everything else that I had not understood about my life. Remembering choices made before matter and time even existed, I reconnected with the divine love that had inspired these choices. This experience completely shattered my heart, and I wept deeply.
From this perspective, I experienced all the suffering that humanity had endured as taking place not outside this love but inside it. I realised that all the suffering inherent in evolution was noble beyond words. It was all part of a cosmic plan that had been entered into freely by all participants, however unconscious of this fact we had become along the way. The nobility of great suffering voluntarily shouldered in the name of Divine Love, suffering that would stretch across millions of years, suffering that would become so utterly inscrutable that it would be used as evidence that the universe itself was devoid of compassion, this was the nobility of humanity’s gift to the Creator. All of the suffering that humanity had endured and would continue to endure, especially the suffering of forgetfulness itself, was part of a consciously chosen creative process, a process that had not yet come to full fruition.
I saw that out of the seething desires of history, out of the violent conflicts and of the scheming of individuals and nations, there was now driving forward a new awareness in human consciousness. Its birth in us no less difficult or violent than the birth of a new continent through volcanic upheaval. It drives upward from the floor of our being, requiring a transposition of everything that has gone before to make room for its new organisational patterns.
The great difficulty I have is describing the enormity of what is being birthed. The true focus of this creative process is not individuals but all humanity. It is actually trying to reawaken the entire species. What is emerging is a consciousness of unprecedented proportions, the entire human species integrated into a unified field of awareness. The species reconnected with its fundamental nature.
– Christopher Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn

in the face of the terrifying prospects that open up to humanity, we see even better that peace is the only fight worth taking. It is no longer a prayer, but an order that must raise peoples to governments, the order to choose definitively between hell and reason.
– Albert Camus

Dropping the ball is the most human thing there is. But you learn the most about people, their courage, their intentions, their awareness of their consequence in the world from everything they do and do not do – in what comes after. Sometimes all you can do is wait and watch and let them reveal themselves to you – for better or for worse – in ways you couldn’t have seen before the dropping. There are few things more beautiful than seeing the ball picked up again and handled with more care and fewer things more heartbreaking than to see them lying there days later untended to.
– Tad Hargrave

Our ecological problems are evidence of a deeper, spiritual problem whereby we keep shrinking our circle of compassion; whereby we, feeling empty, use everything up in an attempt to fill ourselves; whereby we, feeling insignificant and ephemeral, mark up the Earth in order to feel important and lasting; whereby we, feeling incomplete, break apart anything that is whole.
– Mark Nepo

The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
The way music passes, emblematic
Of life and how you cannot isolate a note of it
And say it is good or bad.
You must
Wait till it’s over.
– John Ashbery

Yolanda Rommel:
and after the big rain at night in the desert…
standing in front of you
mother earth in the breaking of a new day
and a sound of awakening life
fresh as if the first ray of a sunlight
greated her with its warmth and
mother earth
bathed in the dew of a new day
fresh as a maiden
showing her face for the first time
to any one
to you opening up like a flower
please walk gently on this earth
and gather flowers
gently offered for the first time
to you…

You may say, “I must do something this afternoon,” but actually there is no “this afternoon.” We do things one after the other. That is all.
– Shunryū Suzuki

Everybody’s looking for the job in which you never have to pay anyone their pound of flesh. Self-employed nirvana. A lot of artists like to think of themselves as uncompromising; a lot of management consultants won’t tell you what they do until they’ve sunk five pints. I don’t think anybody should give themselves air just because they don’t have to hand over a pound of flesh every day at 5pm, and I don’t think anyone should beat themselves with broken glass because they do. If you’re an artist, well, good for you. Thank your lucky stars every evening and dance in the garden with the fairies. But don’t fool yourself that you occupy some kind of higher moral ground. You have to work for that. Writing a few lines, painting a pretty picture – that just won’t do it.
– Zadie Smith

We’re all walking around believing the necessary fictions we’ve created so that we can stand our own lives. Sometimes it’s time to let them go. Sometimes it’s time to let the stories of others thread you open to an unknown self.
– Lidia Yuknavitch

Today education means hard facts and skills. We need a softer approach with art, depth psychology and the spiritualities.
– Thomas Moore

Every setback, challenge and disaster can make you a better person, if you let it reframe your thinking and your values.
– Thomas Moore

There is a black hole in our galactic heart. It not only explains the tragic sense of life, and the harsh reality of our love lives, it reminds us that there is as much chaos and disorder as order and beauty – infected calls us to embrace brokenness as part of beauty. It says “entropy happens.” It calls us to embrace our essential pain and our sacred wounds. And it invites us to integrate disintegration into our lives.
– Roger Wolsey

Lunar Beauty by W.H. Auden

This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early,
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.

This like a dream
Keeps other time
And daytime is
The loss of this,
For time is inches
And the heart’s changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.

But this was never
A ghost’s endeavor
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease,
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.

What is hard to remember is that the body lags three seconds behind the mind. All our technological gizmos and the speed of our lives are so fast our poor bodies never have a chance to catch up. Why not learn to be a little body-kind by making mini stops often? In those stops we can gentle our breaths, really exhale a number of times, and let our bodies feel that we are in solidarity with them.
– Gunilla Norris

Martín Espada, 1957

For Chile

In the republic of poetry,
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.

In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.

In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.

In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.

In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.

Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.
– Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Numb the dark and you numb the light.
– Brené Brown

And when, I ask,
was the last time
words filled sentences
and brimmed in you?
– Elisa Gonzalez

I know I live half alive in the world/ I know half my life belongs to the wild darkness.
– Galway Kinnell

Oh, if loss and failure really could
be turned into rainfall douses instead
– Elise Hempel

Words are inconsequential
as flies. Dumb luck.
– Corey Marks

Writing is a sustaining thing.
– John McPhee

The trick is to live life as a conscious dream, alert to the dreamlike symbols the world gives us at every turning, aware that how we use – or fail to use – our imagination shapes the reality we inhabit.
– Robert Moss

…most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more till it would be terribly hard to say good-by.
– Jack Kerouac

nayyirah waheed:

what can i do
when the night comes
i break into stars.

– osmosis

Once I was walking through the woods with a friend. She asked me if I would be nervous teaching in the presence of my teachers. I checked within. What came was, “No, I won’t be nervous. I’d probably be more alert!
My teachers taught me to trust myself. They made me independent of them. They set me free. For that I am deeply grateful. They live in me, through me, as me.
As for me, I’m less and less interested in projecting myself as a teacher. More and more keen on simply being as I am. Relating without the distortions of labels.
Gratitude on Teacher’s Day.
– Nithya Shanti

We face all sorts of problems, many of them of our own making. Why? Because we are swayed by emotions like anger and fear. However, I believe we can learn to tackle such emotions. And one of the most effective remedies for dealing with destructive emotions is to cultivate loving-kindness on the basis of the oneness of all 7 billion human beings.
– Dalai Lama

It is easy to love the things (people) we are not really close to because
we don’t have to deal with their particularities.
Loving particularities
is much, much,
much, much,
more real.
– Ari Annona

We’re all fools, said Clemens, all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.
– Ray Bradbury

Everything that is sacred and that wishes to remain so must envelop itself in mystery.
– Stephane Mallarme

My feelings of grief had become unbearable, and I attempted to pull off the road. But as suddenly as the wailing began, it ceased, and everything was transformed. Looking at the landscape around me through the window of my parked car, I wondered at first if I might be dreaming. Every rock, every sagebrush, every lofty pine and blazing aspen, as well as the mountain itself, was bathed in a yellowish-gold light connected to luminous threads. I felt as if I were enveloped in soft down.
“This is not a vision,” I said to myself. “I am seeing the world as it really is!”
…The mysterious glow surrounding everything seemed to emanate from within all things…more accurately, perhaps, from within the earth, herself. The threads of light were even more extraordinary. Unlike the visible spectrum of light, these felt alive. It seemed that each strand of this “living light” was self-aware and also aware of the whole. I felt that I perceived, on an energetic level, the very essence of the earth – perhaps the nature of Creation itself. I also felt that for a brief, timeless moment, I perceived the “flow” of things, for these luminous threads of light seemed fluid, shimmering, and eternal. These threads of light were connected to all things, thus forming the impression of a vast living web. There were also strands, which extended upward as if connecting this web to some greater whole. Perhaps they reached into Infinity itself. My heartwrenching anguish had been transformed into utter bliss. It was then that I heard an inner voice telling me that one must know the sufferings of the world before bliss is possible… …When my perception returned to normal, I thought of the Navaho [Diné] deity, Spider Woman, who wove the web of the Universe. I remembered the opening verse to an ancient East Indian account of Creation, “Father, Mother, spin a web, whose web is the Universe”.
I felt that my eyes had been opened. For the first time I understood what these ancient people must have known through direct experience. For the next half hour while standing on that mountain pass, I continued observing the glow of our world with its luminous threads. I knew that the goddess of our world had shared with me both her anguish and her bliss. Through a spontaneous shift in awareness, I had perceived her energetic configurations, while experiencing a joyous and ecstatic union with this great being – the Earth Mother – in her Gaia, or planetary, form.
– Peter Calhoun

you don’t deserve this pain, this terrible search for something that’s not even real. you deserve so much more, and you deserve the space within you to be filled with love. to be filled with kindness so deserving that only the ones with a broken heart understand. because you’ve earned it. make today the kind of day that starts and ends with you.
– r.m. drake

You can call me crazy
if you want but
I’ve nothing to wish for –
nothing to wait for –
nothing to hope for -

I’m already drunk

with what is here.

In the present moment

everything is wildly alive,

sacred and 
– Guthema Roba

Instructions for Trimming Your Roommate’s Bangs
Adriana Cloud
Maybe it’s August. Maybe the birds
are still learning to see green.

Starlings and wrens, each bone a secret.

In the kitchen with the dishwasher running

and bees zapping against the screen,

go slowly, right to left.

Her lips taste like rain like salt like

bruised pears. Let the ends fall on her skin.

Like twilight. Like cotton straps.

What was the first thing that was only like itself?

Loving Working
Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952
     “We clean to give space for Art.”
        Micaela Miranda, Freedom Theatre, Palestine
Work was a shining refuge when wind sank its tooth
into my mind. Everything we love is going away,
drifting – but you could sweep this stretch of floor,
this patio or porch, gather white stones in a bucket,
rake the patch for future planting, mop the counter
with a rag. Lovely wet gray rag, squeeze it hard
it does so much. Clear the yard of blowing bits of plastic.
The glory in the doing. The breath of the doing.
Sometimes the simplest move kept fear from
fragmenting into no energy at all, or sorrow from
multiplying, or sorrow from being the only person
living in the house.

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.
– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

….Oh be inspired for the flame
in which a Thing disappears and bursts into something else;
the spirit of re-creation which masters this earthly form
loves most the pivoting point where you are no longer
– Rilke

Take care you don’t know anything in this world
too quickly or easily. Everything
is also a mystery and has its own secret aura in the moonlight,
its private song…
– Mary Oliver

Like a great film or play everyone should see,
Hints of your beauty the mountains have.
The enchanting complexions of the coral reefs 
are pale to a golden candle in our heart.
What moves in any ocean moves through us.
A thousand kinds of music play every hour
that you orchestrate.
Let the next ticket you buy help seat you in
Front of . . . your soul.
– A Year with Hafiz

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Once again, the field rehearses how to die.
Some of the grass turns golden first. Some
simply fades into brown. Just this morning,
I, too, lay in corpse pose, practicing
how to let myself be totally held by the earth
without striving, how to meet the day
without rushing off to do the next necessary
or beautiful thing. Soon, the grass will bend
or break, molder or disintegrate. Every year,
the same lesson in how to join
the darkness, how to be unmade, how quietly
we might lean into the uncertainty
of whatever comes next.

Much learning does not teach understanding.
– Heraclitus

There is no “thing” that makes you stressed or burnt out or anxious–it’s how we relate to anxiety. In Tibetan Buddhism they say if you’re barefoot, you can try to pave the entire world in soft leather–or you can put soft leather shoes on.
– Waylon Lewis

The problem is that for most of us we have to be in trouble before we remember what’s essential.
– John O’Donohue

I’ve been accused of having a death wish but I think it’s life that I wish for, terribly, shamelessly, on any terms whatsoever.
– Tennessee Williams, Sweet Bird of Youth

Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.
– Angela Carter

You don’t get cool hanging around ‘cool people’. You don’t get cool sitting before cool teachers. You don’t get cool when you live in a cool town. You don’t get cool when you sleep with cool people. You get cool when you go deeper into your own individuation. You get cool when you actualize your particular uniqueness. You get cool when you don’t give a shit about being cool. Because what is cool is not an external reflection. It’s not the chasing of cool. It’s the surrender to your uniqueness. It’s the embodying of your own remarkable self. It’s the empowerment of your ideosyncratic voice. And it’s the not caring one iota what others think about you because you are so deeply ‘you’ that external judgments are meaningless. You want to be cool? Be fully who YOU are. Now, that’s cool.
– Jeff Brown

The True Path
Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him.
“Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked.
Ninakawa replied: “I came here alone and I go alone. What help could you be to me?”
Ikkyu answered: “If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going.”
With his words Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smilled and passed away.

Sabbaths 1999, II
Wendell Berry
I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends

nothing, but only knows

where the rarest wildflowers

are blooming, and who goes,

and finds that he is smiling

not by his own will.

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born. And we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
– James Baldwin

The physical body does not make you as tired as the mind does. Work doesn’t make you as tired as your desires do. So what is important is for you to become CONTENT.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

In the preface to Iwaszkiewicz’s Diaries, the author cites a marvelous aphorism taken from the critic Karol Irzykowski: “Anything can be lived through to the end, nothing can be thought through to the end.
 – Adam Zagajewski

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

In the middle of work
we start longing fiercely for wild greenery,
for the Wilderness itself, penetrated only
by the thin civilization of the telephone wires.

The moon of leisure circles the planet Work
with its mass and weight. – That’s how they want it.
When we are on the way home the ground pricks up its ears.
The underground listens to us via the grass-blades.

Even in this working day there is a private calm.
As in a smoky inland area where a canal flows:
THE BOAT appears unexpectedly in the traffic
or glides out behind the factory, a white vagabond.

One Sunday I walk past an unpainted new building
standing before a grey wet surface.
It is half finished. The wood has the same light color
as the skin on someone bathing.

Outside the lamps the September night is totally dark.
When the eyes adjust, there is faint light
over the ground where large snails glide out
and the mushrooms are as numerous as the stars.
 – Tomas Tranströmer

though I have not been here long,
I can look up at the sky at night and tell
how things are likely to go for
the next hundred million years:

the universe will probably not find
a way to vanish nor I
in all that time reappear.
 – A. R. Ammons

It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour.
 – George Ivanovich Gurdjieff

All I know is a door into the dark.
– Seamus Heaney

The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape & music.
– Seamus Heaney

what are these lies
I tell myself
but truths angled
sharp into my neck
I am hostage
to my own dark
narrative of broken days
how days become years
so fluidly
as rain waters rivers
and rushes into the sea
I am already ancient
when I rise again
the sky knows
my secret name
the one I have already forgotten
in the cycle of dreaming
and waking
I hear the ghost of it
in your voice
quiet syllabic
familiar in the gloaming

Then love comes, like a sudden flight
of birds from earth to heaven after rain. Your kiss,
recalled, unstrings, like pearls, this chain of words.
– Carol Ann Duffy

God picks up the reed-flute world and blows.
Each note is a need coming through one of us, a passion, a longing pain.
Remember the lips where the wind breath originated, and let your note be clear.
Don’t try to end it.
Be your note.
I’ll show you when it’s enough.
Go up on the roof at night, in this city of the soul.
Let everyone climb on their roofs and sing their notes!
Sing loud!
– Rumi

If you are discouraged, as I am, by the vulgarity in modern life, you can respond with your own beauty and thoughtfulness.
– Thomas Moore

The Man Watching
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister
The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.
What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
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 wrestler’s 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.
– Trans. by Robert Bly

Yolanda Rommel:
Grief, I’ve learned, is really love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot give. The more you loved someone, the more you grieve. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes and in that part of your chest that gets empty and hollow feeling. The happiness of love turns to sadness when unspent. Grief is just love with no place to go.
And it grows as you continue living… as long as you take a risk of loving and losing … again and again…

God is the great companion, the fellow sufferer who understands.
– Alfred North Whitehead

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life…
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones,
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy
– Pesha Joyce Gertler, The Healing Time​

by Gregg Krech

You can do this.

The voice in your head that tells you it’s hopeless
tells you to just lie down and not get up
“It’s too hard.”
“You’re too tired.”
“Just give up.”
that voice is just a stream of thoughts.

There’s a part of you that is much stronger.
Much wiser.
Find that voice.
It’s softer. Sometimes it’s hard to hear
but it’s there.

You’re most likely to find it
in silence
and in the spaces
between the other thoughts.

There seems to be no end to doing things wrong, messing things up all the time. We are sort of trapped in that kind of negative “oy vey” situation. On the other hand, very interestingly, there is lots of room to make mistakes. That’s true, absolutely true. But such room for mistakes cannot be created unless there is surrendering, giving, some kind of opening. If we can give away our aggression or attempt to give it away, if we attempt to open up and to strip away our territoriality and possessiveness — then there is lots of room for making mistakes.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

start seeing everything as god, but keep it a secret.
– hāfez​

We withdraw not to disappear, but to find another ground from which to see; a solid ground from which to step, and from which to speak again, in a different way, a clear, rested, embodied voice we begin to remember again as our own.
– David Whyte

May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing it and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
– Rainer Maria Rilke ​

When the world appears to be most insane, we can’t go inside and hide and let the jackals eat up the orchards. We have to respond as humans, which is to say with kindness and wit and caring.
– Tennessee Williams

It’s a universal law – intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Community begins in the individual stretching beyond self-interest and lack of trust, in cracking the heart open.
– Thomas Moore

…Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave warmth as if from a hearth
And it was sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I was sleeping I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was God here in my heart.
God, is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives who labor by night stopped, and
the water wheel of thought, is it dry?
The cup’s empty, wheeling out carrying only shadows?
No! My soul is not asleep! My soul is not asleep!
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its clear eyes open,
far off things, and listens, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.
It listens at the shores of the great silence.
– Antonio Machado​

​You can tell your story. You can re-tell your story. You can un-tell your story. You can even sell your story of re-telling and un-telling your story. Just remember that you are not your story.​
– Nithya Shanti

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

The only / way to listen to what can never / be said is to quiet our need / to steer the plot.
– Mark Nepo​

Effort and grace are two sides of the same moment and this is not to be feared.
– Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

The more one has suffered, the less one demands. To protest is a sign one has traversed no hell.
– Emile M Cioran

When I encounter people who are OBSESSED with purity- pure water, pure air, pure food, pure consciousness, pure colons- I find myself both celebrating their good sense and simultaneously wondering what unresolved toxicity they are trying to avoid from deep within their psyches. You can clean your body, mind and environment all you want, but it won’t mean a thing if you still have a muddy heart.
– Jeff Brown​

What cowards we become
When we give up our own mind and autonomy to authority, we give up our capacity to learn and literally expand in self awareness.
In our giving up of self we now have someone to blame, mistakes are no longer stepping stones and the arousal of determination to learn goes by the way side to boot lick the imagined authority who only exist out of our own self denial.
– Dino Delano, Cool Zen

I do not believe that a violent imitation of the horrors of our times is the concern of poetry. Horrors are taken for granted. Disorder is ordinary. People in general take more and more “in their stride”—hides grow thicker. I long for poems of an inner harmony in utter contrast to the chaos in which they exist. Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.
– Denise Levertov, The Poet in the World
(New Directions, 1960)

To experience poetry is to see over and above reality. It is to discover that which is beyond the physical, to experience another life and another level of feeling. It is to wonder about the world, to understand the nature of people and, most importantly, to be shared with another, old or young, known or unknown.
– Ai Weiwei

Because our greatest gifts and deepest wounds reside in the same area; because the resurrection of old pains can be so fearful and painful, people need to be reminded in diverse ways that the inner dream of life, the wise word set within and the psychic gold are the natural inheritance of each human soul. Because it is so easy to forget what we so desperately need to remember; old stories talk of golden treasures and great dreams that call us to undertake adventures and pilgrimages that in the end reveal what was within us all along.
– Michael Meade

alterum orbem terrarum eam appellant

They call it the other world

– Gaius Plinius (Pliny the Elder) AD23-79

In trees still dripping night some nameless birds
Woke, shook out their arrowy wings, and sang,
Slowly, like finches sifting through a dream.
The pink sun fell, like glass, into the fields.
Two chestnuts, and a dapple gray,
Their shoulders wet with light, their dark hair streaming,
Climbed the hill. The last mist fell away,

And under the trees, beyond time’s brittle drift,
I stood like Adam in his lonely garden
On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,
Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,
Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.
– Mary Oliver

Eternity is non evident. There’s this endless rotation of the
sun in the skull, the stillness outside, and a storm within.
At least a river is always flowing in some part of the country.
Winds, always gathering speed, shatter the order of things.
– Etel Adnan

Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to.
– John Berger

[L]ike a piece of drift wood
settling in weeds, my dreams were filled
with talking frogs, giant crickets,
godly flies, with the yellow, brooding eyelid of the moon
flickering at me sensuously.
– Jimmy Santiago Baca

Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?
– Kahlil Gibran

In poems I am trying to find my bearings through a world that at times feels remote and inchoate and struck blank with noise. I would like to place myself in a field of deep attention, and out of that attention come to feel and regard with more acute understanding what is there. I write to be less hopelessly myself, to sense something more expansive than where I speak from.
– Joanna Klink

You seem to be carrying the morning on your shoulders. / What are you going to ask the moon as it floats away?
– Richard Jackson

If God has been good enough to give you a poet / Then listen to him [or her].
– Robinson Jeffers

Words or wax, no end
to our self-shaping, our forlorn
awareness at the end of which
is only more awareness.
Was ever truth so malleable?
Arid, inadhesive bits of matter.
What might heal you? Love.
What make you whole? Love. My love.
– C. K. Williams

so we blessed each other
in a language we invented,
more silent than thought,
each word backlit as in a dream
– D. Nurske

How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?”
– Galway Kinnell

That the branches of poetry are silence and wound.
– Paisley Rekdal

Language is the first site of loss and our first defense against it.
– Paisley Rekdal

I look for you beyond the wait
Beyond myself
And I love you so much that I no longer know
Which one of us is absent.
– Paul Éluard

Literature is not high school and it’s not actually necessary to know what everyone around you is wearing, in terms of style, and being influenced by people who are being published in this very moment is going to make you look just like them, which is probably not a good long-term goal for being yourself or making a meaningful contribution. At any point in history there is a great tide of writers of similar tone, they wash in, they wash out, the strange starfish stay behind, and the conches. Check out the bestseller list for April 1935 or August 1978 if you don’t believe me. Originality is partly a matter of having your own influences: read evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, find your metaphors where no one’s looking, don’t belong. Or belong to the other world that is not quite this one, the world from which you send back your messages.
– Rebecca Solnit

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

…Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.
– Czeslaw Milosz

The fact is, that I have broken with the past. I have decided, coolly and calmly, as I believe, that it is necessary to my success, or, at any rate, to my happiness, to abjure for a while my conventional self, and to assume a simple, natural character.
– Henry James

I often try to answer back to what’s just been spoken to me, when I feel someone is trying to reach me.
– Joanna Klink

I will be your poet, I will be more to you than to any of the rest.
– Walt Whitman

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?
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 dreams. Dream your own.

It is on this moment of balance I must end:
The strange moment when spirituality rejects ethics,
when happiness springs from the absence of hope,
when the mind finds its justification in the body.
If it is true that every truth carries its bitterness within,
it is also true that every denial contains a flourish of affirmations.
And this song of hopeless love born in contemplation may also seem the most effective guide for action.
– Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays

Denying, believing, and doubting are to men
what running is to horses.
– Blaise Pascal

Your spiritual beliefs are no more or less sacred to me than your favorite color.
– Ron Harper

I have sung over so many abysses,
And lived in so many mirrors.
– Anna Akhmatova

first thought after seeing you smile
by Warsan Shire
come with every wound
and every woman you’ve ever loved
every lie you’ve ever told
and whatever it is that keeps you up at night
every mouth you’ve ever punched in
all the blood you’ve ever tasted
come with every enemy you’ve ever made
and all the family you’ve ever buried
and every dirty thing you’ve ever done
every drink that’s burnt your throat
and every morning you’ve woken
with nothing and no one
come with all your loss
your regrets, sins
black outs
come with all the rot in your mouth
and that voice like needle hitting record
come with your kind eyes and weeping knuckles
come with all your shame
come with your swollen heart
i’ve never seen anything more beautiful than you.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
– Plato

I want my writing to take care of me. I want to live in my world. I want to carry my world with me like a shell. I want a home. It’s always been like a dream, in the way that everyone says, ‘Ooh, I wish I was a writer, I really have stories.’ They just imagine you sitting in some place all the time having this incredible life. We have such messy lives, writers, and it’s so unstable, but I think we do it because we want to create a reality on some level. At some point, the more it grows you realize this has made me comfortable, this has given me a self, this has given me a place in the world, this has given me esteem and respect and money, if you’re lucky. It is my home, it is my place. It even makes me comfortable. The things that I might have wanted to do anyway, I now have a reason or an excuse or a way of doing that. You just evolve a style of being a writer that makes it possible to say the things you need to say in the way you need to say them. Suddenly you’ve managed to live in your time.
– Eileen Myles

Perhaps everything lies in knowing what words to speak, what actions to perform, and in what order and rhythm; or else someone’s gaze, answer, gesture is enough; it is enough for someone to do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it, and for his pleasure to become the pleasure of others: at that moment, all spaces change, all heights, distances; the city is transfigured, becomes crystalline, transparent as a dragonfly.
– Italo Calvino

In fact, it is the speaking-being that has created this universe, even if language excludes him from it. This means that we are deprived through words of an authentic intimacy with what we are, or with what the Other is. We need poetry, not to regain this intimacy, which is impossible, but to remember that we miss it and to prove to ourselves the value of those moments when we are able to encounter other people, or trees, or anything, beyond words, in silence.
– Yves Bonnefoy

Oh, wonderfully bright at 6 a.m., yes, wonderfully clear for an hour. But the shorter the days, the longer the nights, the darker the house, the easier it is, the easier it is, the easier it is, to mistake a shadow for the writing on the wall, the sound of overland footsteps for the distant crack of thunder, and the midnight chime of a New Year clock for the bell that tolls the end of the world.
– Zadie Smith

History is nothing more than a thin thread of what has been remembered stretched out over an ocean of what has been forgotten.
– Milan Kundera

We measure an individual’s intelligence to the amount of uncertainty he can bear.
– Immanuel Kant

Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.
– Shauna Niequist

The whole time I was hoping my silence would fit yours and exclamation marks would gently float across time and space so that boundaries would be crossed; the whole time I was praying you would read my eyes and understand what I was never able to understand. See, we were never about butterflies. We’ve always been about burning stars. All about us is unearthly and radiant.
– Anna Akhmatova

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

Truthfully, it is the lure of the other fields, of other forces which draw me into a poem, not the techniques of a self-conscious poetics. A book like The Secret Life of Plants would have more influence on my poetry, add more in explaining and understanding the other systems of poetry, than would certain texts.
– Frank Stanford

I have discarded clarity as worthless. Working in darkness, I have discovered lightning.
– André Breton

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

Lifting a brush, a burin, a pen, or a stylus is like releasing a bite or lifting a claw.
– Gary Snyder

He may actually have been existing in the past and approximating a conceivable future. And thus he couldn’t say that he truly existed right now and in this moment, but instead it seemed more rational to assume that he simply existed and nothing more.
– Ashim Shanker

Maybe I Am Traveling
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated from the German by Paul Weinfield
Maybe I am traveling, like some secret ore,
through the hard veins of a mountain, alone.
And I’m in so deep that I see no door
and no distance: nothing but a single core
that draws in all things and changes them to stone.
I don’t have much wisdom about misery.
The darkness has made me smaller, it’s true.
Are you the one solid enough? Come, break through,
so that all of your touch might happen to me,
and all of my tears might happen to you

I think that for those of us who come from oppressed backgrounds and who do our work in marginalized communities, recovering our innocence is one of the most important acts of self-liberation and de-colonization. Not letting the requirement that we adapt to impossible circumstances and unconscionable crimes leave us shackled to the kind of cynicism and armor such that we can’t breathe and laugh and magnetize to ourselves all the genius and love and support that we need to transform the situation. That’s probably the biggest challenge, is to recover our innocence.
– Van Jones

The Heat of Autumn
by Jane Hirshfield
The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.
One is a dock you walk out on,
the other the spine of a thin swimming horse
and the river each day a full measure colder.
A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.
Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,
rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser
by color. That’s autumn heat:
her hand placing silver buckles with silver,
gold buckles with gold, setting each
on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,
and calling it pleasure.

Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

I don’t know why—it may be the time of year—but the days are growing more severe in color, darker and blacker. It seems as if one were looking at the world through black glasses. The landscape is now like the bottom of an enormous aquarium full of watery ink. Trees, people, and houses merge, swaying like underwater plants against the background of the inky deep.
– Bruno Schulz

Is it true we forget most of what has happen to us? Isn’t it more likely that a portion of the past serves as a seed, an unnamed incentive for setting out again toward a destiny we had foolishly abandoned?
– Álvaro Mutis

…the great autumn light begins, a time of change in the inner world.
– May Sarton, from Journal of a Solitude

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
– Audre Lorde

But what could you do? Only keep going. People kept going; they had been doing it for thousands of years. You took the kindness offered, letting it seep as far in as it could go, and the remaining dark crevices you carried around with you, knowing that over time they might change into something almost bearable.
– Elizabeth Strout, Amy and Isabelle

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
– Audre Lorde

But what could you do? Only keep going. People kept going; they had been doing it for thousands of years. You took the kindness offered, letting it seep as far in as it could go, and the remaining dark crevices you carried around with you, knowing that over time they might change into something almost bearable.
– Elizabeth Strout, Amy and Isabelle

The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.
– Alan Watts

We are all philosophers because our condition demands it. We live every moment in a universe of seemingly eternal thoughts and ideas, yet simultaneously in the constantly churning and decaying world of our bodies and their humble situations. We are graced with a godlike ability to transcend time and space in our minds but are chained to death. The result is a nagging need to find meaning.
– Russell Shorto

Ignorance is not innocence but sin.
– Robert Browning

To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.
– Simdha Getul Rinpoche

It is not infrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty — to oppress without control, or the restraint of laws, all who are poorer or weaker than themselves.
– Samuel Adams

Is it a stillness
Or the shhhh of a flowing river
Nestled in my ear
That captures my spirit here?
Here by the rock
That waits Oregon shore-side for my seasonal return.
Here by the Australian tree
That once asked me to read it poetry.
Here by the ocean
That dropped then lifted me
Under a Jamaican moon.
It’s the mystic’s song I hear.
– David Bedrick

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.
– Brené Brown

How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst…
Boundless and free is the sky of Samádhi,
Bright the full moon of wisdom!
Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes,
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.
– Zen Master Hakuin: Song of Zazen

There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song -but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.
– Pablo Neruda

I think we are ready to create a more human-centered belief system. I realize I sound like an advocate for science and technology, and maybe I am because we are now in a techno-scientific age. I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves. Right now we’re living in what Carl Sagan correctly termed a demon-haunted world. We have created a Star Wars civilization but we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. That’s dangerous.

I think we ought to have another go at the Enlightenment and use that as a common goal to explain and understand ourselves, to take that self-understanding which we so sorely lack as a foundation for what we do in the moral and political realm. This is a wonderful exercise. It is about education, science, evaluating the creative arts, learning to control the fires of organized religion and making a better go of it.
– E. O. Wilson

At night, autumn arrives
for the harvest, yellow, ripe for flame.
There are, I know, not one
but at least four realities,
like the Gospels.
I know I’m alone, but linked
firmly to you, painfully, gladly,
I know only the mysteries are immortal.
– Adam Zagajewski

All objects in this world have hidden meanings. All of them–people, animals, trees, stars,–are hieroglyphics. Bravo, and also woe, to whoever begins to divine what they say and give them voice. The moment you see these objects, you fail to comprehend; you believe that they are just people, animals, trees, stars. It is only years later, much too late, that you approach the hidden meanings.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

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

It is due to feeling alone that a thing becomes freed from abstraction and becomes something individual and concrete.
– Simone Weil

If you love, he wrote, or wish to love, do not dream.
– Franz Wright

To care for what we know requires
care for what we don’t, the world’s lives
dark in the soil, dark in the dark.
Forbearance is the first care we give
to what we do not know. 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

In fierceness, in heat, in longing, in risk, I find something of love’s nature. So when you ask me why I cannot love you more calmly, I answer that to love you calmly is not to love you at all.
– Jeanette Winterson

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ I appreciate my mind most when it’s open and engaged and responding to the world. This can be done without skepticism and doubt but with great respect.… Questioning makes us a vessel of learning. I feel this kind of reflection is at the heart of the tradition.

If we want people to engage with the living world, we should stop using such constipated terms to describe our relationship to it…
Rather… professional ecologists should recruit poets and cognitive linguists and amateur nature lovers to help them find the words for what they cherish. Here are a few ideas. Please improve and add to them.

If we called protected areas “places of natural wonder”, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature, but also establish an aspiration, that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as “living planet” and “natural world” instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying “climate breakdown”. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.
– George Monbiot

Some of you believe that what is not pretty is not of God. Tell that to the snake in the grass. Tell that to the spider or the bat. Because you have vilified them, you have put them out of the light. But they are as joyful in their expression as anything can be. The same is true for your neighbor. Know him as who he is outside of what has been prescribed for him, and you may know God.
– Paul Selig, The Book of Freedom, A Channeled Text

Hymn Despite
the world is ending,
light disperses, into tiny sparks,
that kneel beneath pebbles,
twigs, and blades of grass.
the river runs, though long and silent,
grasshoppers pray, to ancestors forgotten.
a child is born, in a nuclear stable,
no stars remain, sheep follow wolves.
the old man’s eyes, dim and heavy,
bear the weight of a thousand sins.
the lover sleeps, the soldier grieves.
the fields are barren, the barn ablaze.
holiness drinks, in a corner cafe,
rain falls, on empty graves.
and all that is, and all that was,
hides beneath what should have been.
fingers pledge, breathing soft….
as if perhaps, another dawn.
– Eric Cockrell

Breaking the Spell of Time
In the strange way that life can reverse itself over time, myth has come to mean something false or illusionary. Meanwhile history, which is always being rewritten and proven to be wrong, has come to be considered the true story. Myths are timeless tales that remain separate from history, which changes based upon who is telling the tale. Myths narrate the sacred dramas that take place before time begins, in the beginning that is also secretly present throughout time. They are intended to reveal the sacred and essential stories that are not altered by the passing of time. Myths are not something of the past. Rather, they keep the present open to the possibilities of another world nearby, a transcendent realm of archetypal forms—paradigms for all human actions and the sacred realities that underlie the limits of the common world.
The history of the past as well as news of the current day concerns the exoteric or external elements of the world of facts and figures. Under the rule of literalism the outer aspects of the world can seem to be the only meaningful elements of life. The esoteric or inner levels that shape the outer world and define the individual life can be underestimated and even dismissed when viewed from the limited perspective of the march of history. Myths are not intended to simply explain things that happened at the origins of time, but to evoke the presence of original things at this time. Mythic tales are vehicles of imagination that can reconnect the passing moment with the eternal ground from which all of time arises.
“Living myths are always nearby waiting to be rediscovered. They are able to reveal truths that shed light upon the past as well as illuminate the present moment in time. Myths are intended to break the spell of time and release us from the immediate pressures and limitations of daily life.”
The great narratives of the eternal dramas of life are intended to dispel the blindness created by the rapid passing of things at the surface of the world. Myth speaks to the esoteric parts within us that are also the extraordinary things about us. The archetypal dramas that constitute mythic narrations are living vehicles of creation intended to reconnect us to that which is most noble and imaginative within our souls.
Hearing or reading a mythic story awakens the myth already living inside each one of us. As the story enters us, we enter the timeless territory of myth. Being in such a mythic condition allows us to reconnect to the core imagination at the center of our soul. We become mythic again, a knowing participant in our own story and a seeker of the greater knowledge found near the source of all stories, at the ever-present origins of life.
The modern world requires that most things be sacrificed in service of linear time; yet in order to touch timeless things and become renewed, time is exactly what must be sacrificed. Only when time becomes broken can the “once upon a time” realm of renewable potentials appear again. Then, creation becomes not a thing of the past, not even a sacred history of religion, but something capable of erupting into each passing moment. The creative aspect of our soul would have us touch the esoteric ground where creation remains ongoing and life renews itself from within. Creation wishes to continue, yet can only work through the souls of those who are alive and awake at a given time.
– Michael Meade, “Why the World Doesn’t End”

Our survival adaptations are so tough, but our wounds are so delicate. To heal, we have to lift the armor carefully- it saved our lives, after all. It’s like moving your best friend off to the side of the path. You don’t trample on her, you don’t hit him with a sledgehammer. You honor her presence like a warm blanket that has kept you safe and sound during wintry times. And then, when the moment is right, you get inside and stitch your wounds with the thread of love, slowly and surely, not rushing to completion, nurturing as you weave, tender and true. The healing process has a heart of its own, moving at its own delicate pace. We are such wondrous weavers…

Rub your hands together and make them warm. Place them over your heart. Press in lightly and slowly make gentle circles. Think of them as circles of solidarity with your essence. Let yourself settle in and gently down.
– Gunilla Norris

Most of us hoped to be able to trust. When we were little we did not yet know the human invention of the lie – not only that of lying with words but that of lying with one’s voice, one’s gesture, one’s eyes, one’s facial expression. How should the child be prepared for this specifically human ingenuity: the lie? Most of us are awakened, some more and some less brutally, to the fact that people often do not mean what they say or say the opposite of what they mean. And not only “people,” but the very people we trusted most – our parents, teachers, leaders.
– Erich Fromm

George Gorman:
oppressed with miracles,
we starve, because
we have not the sacraments.
Can’t even remember
that we have forgotten something.

We have forgotten that it takes great
daredevil feats of imagination
to dream what we desire.
For this we need sacraments.

We have forgotten that it takes
awesome eruptions of impulse
to impel those arrows of dream.
For this we need sacraments.

And we have forgotten that it takes
flawless jewels of ageless patience
and quiet remembrance
to sharpen those arrows
and to bend those bows.
For this, above all,
we need sacraments

All the old sacraments
sit like empty masks
in the fearful windows
of this time.
Science smirks,
religion frowns,
industry slavers,
art leers.

There are no sacraments
to make the new sacraments,
except the maskless, ageless
sacrament of raw experience
loving being here.

He who hates does not know God.
– Martin Luther King Jr. (1966)

Magical living is simply having the ability to see the magnificent shining through the mundane.
– Lisa Marie Rosati

My days

Pass quietly and at night
I reassemble them in
– John Koethe

Fall’s leaves are redder than
spring’s flowers, have no pollen,
and also sometimes fly, as the wind
schools them out or down in shoals
or droves: though I
have not been here long, I can
look up at the sky at night and tell
how things are likely to go for
the next hundred million years:
the universe will probably not find
a way to vanish nor I
in all that time reappear.
– A. R. Ammons

I genuinely believe that the various parts of life, logistical and creative, are not forces in opposition but can speak to each other in weirdly generative ways.
– Leslie Jamison

But it is possible that there are situations that exist beyond your logic, beyond your system of thinking. That is not an impossibility. In fact it is highly possible.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Every day, consciously give yourself a moment wherein you are doing nothing—nothing but appreciating a beautiful view or favorite spot. Appreciate your life even momentarily, and the rest of our busyness will flower into well-being.
– Waylon Lewis

Remodeling the Bathroom
Ellen Bass
If this were the last
day of my life, I wouldn’t complain

about the shower curtain rod

in the wrong place, even though

it’s drilled into the tiles.

Nor would I fret

over water marks on the apricot

satin finish paint, half sick

that I should have used semigloss. No.

I’d stand in the doorway

watching sun glint

off the chrome faucet, breathing in

the silicone smell. I’d wonder

at the plumber, as he adjusted the hot

and cold water knobs. I’d stare

at the creases behind his ears and the gray

flecks in his stubble. I’d have to hold

myself back from touching him. Or maybe

I wouldn’t. Maybe I’d stroke

his cheek and study

his eyes the amber of cellos, his rumpled

brow, the tiny garnet

threads of capillaries, his lips

resting together, quiet as old friends—

I’d gaze at him

as though his were the first

face I’d ever seen.

I stood for a time, overlooking the calm sea. Under the bright morning sun, it looked like hammered blue metal. A very light breeze came off it and stirred my hair. I felt as if someone had spoken words aloud to me and I echoed them. “Time for a change.”
– Robin Hobb

Ah, Catylast, can it be that you do not see all the changes you have made? Some by your resignation and acceptance of circumstance, some by your wild struggles. You say that you hate change, but you *are* change.
– Robin Hobb

Instructions on Not Giving Up
Ada Limón
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer . . . Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
– John Muir

What counts? Love, death, dreams, ambition, growing up, coming to terms with your own and other people’s limitations.
– Raymond Carver

Acts of deep generosity, not just financial, can open your heart and help you discover your place in life, your route to fulfillment.
– Thomas Moore

We need to move beyond boutique, self-satisfying spirituality to a transcendent and sublime vision and approach to actual life.
– Thomas Moore

Don’t confuse the brain for the soul. The soul is made up of meaningful experiences of hope, fear, love, desire, anger….
– Thomas Moore

The best solution to personal emotional problems is to become more dedicated to the needs of the world. The self is too small.
– Thomas Moore

Don’t try to become a Buddha.
Just be yourself.
That is the Buddha.
– Mooji

…And yes, it is a simple enough task
we’ve taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,
from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not

be blinded by the praising.

To lie like a cat in hot

sun, fur fully blazing,

and dream the mouse;

and to keep too the mouse’s patient, waking watch

within the deep rooms of the house,

where the leaf-flocked

sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.

- Jane Hirshfield

Home is so Sad
by Philip Larkin
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

We are unraveling our navels so that we may ingest the sun.
We are not afraid of the darkness.
We trust that the moon shall guide us.
We are determining the future at this very moment.
We know that the heart is the philosopher’s stone.
Our music is our alchemy.
– Saul Williams

Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.
– James Hillman

Childhood was terrifying for me. You’re three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate.
– Mary Karr

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending
is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding
is the disciple of life.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

And What if I Spoke of Despair
Ellen Bass
And what if I spoke of despair—who doesn’t
feel it? Who doesn’t know the way it seizes,

leaving us limp, deafened by the slosh

of our own blood, rushing

through the narrow, personal

channels of grief. It’s beauty

that brings it on, calls it out from the wings

for one more song. Rain

pooled on a fallen oak leaf, reflecting

the pale cloudy sky, dark canopy

of foliage not yet fallen. Or the red moon

in September, so large you have to pull over

at the top of Bayona and stare, like a photo

of a lover in his uniform, not yet gone;

or your own self, as a child,

on that day your family stayed

at the sea, watching the sun drift down,

lazy as a beach ball, and you fell asleep with sand

in the crack of your smooth behind.

That’s when you can’t deny it. Water. Air.

They’re still here, like a mother’s palms,

sweeping hair off our brow, her scent

swirling around us. But now your own

car is pumping poison, delivering its fair

share of destruction. We’ve created a salmon

with the red, white, and blue shining on one side.

Frog genes spliced into tomatoes—
as if
the tomato hasn’t been humiliated enough.

I heard a man argue that genetic

engineering was more dangerous

than a nuclear bomb. Should I be thankful

he was alarmed by one threat, or worried

he’d gotten used to the other? Maybe I can’t

offer you any more than you can offer me—

but what if I stopped on the trail, with shreds

of manzanita bark lying in russet scrolls

and yellow bay leaves, little lanterns

in the dim afternoon, and cradled despair

in my arms, the way I held my own babies

after they’d fallen asleep, when there was no

reason to hold them, only

I didn’t want to put them down.

I insist that the object of all true education is not to make men carpenters; it is to make carpenters men.
– W. E. B. DuBois

When we walk, holding stories in us, do they touch the ground through our footprints? What is this power of metaphor, by which we liken a thing we see to a thing we imagine or have seen before – the granite crag to an old crystalline heart – changing its form, allowing animation to suffuse the world via inference? Metaphor, perhaps, is the tame, the civilized, version of shamanic shapeshifting, word-magic, the recognition of stories as toothed messengers from the wilds. What if we turned the old nursery rhymes and fairytales we all know into feral creatures once again, set them loose in new lands to root through the acorn fall of oak trees? What else is there to do, if we want to keep any of the wildness of the world, and of ourselves?
– Sylvia Linsteadt

Some nothing afternoon, no one anywhere,
an early autumn stillness in the air,
the kind of empty day you fill by taking in
the full size of the valley and its layers leading
slowly to the Blue Ridge, the quality of country,
if you stand here long enough, you could stay
for, step into, the way a landscape, even on a wall,
pulls you in, one field at a time, pasture and fall
meadow, high above the harvest, perfect
to the tree line, then spirit clouds and intermittent
sunlit smoky rain riding the tops of the mountains,
though you could walk until it’s dark and not reach those rains –
you could walk the rest of the day into the picture
and not know why, at any given moment, you’re there.
– Stanley Plumly

I’m impatient with the wind
But I’m waitin’ here for somethin’
– Tom Petty

Restorative nostalgia ‘stresses nostos and attempts a transhistorical reconstruction of the lost home’ while reflective nostalgia thrives in algia, the longing itself, and delays the homecoming—wistfully, ironically, desperately. Restorative nostalgia does not think of itself as nostalgia, but rather as truth and tradition. Reflective nostalgia dwells on the ambivalences of human longing and belonging and does not shy away from the contradictions of modernity. Restorative nostalgia protects the absolute truth, while reflective nostalgia calls it into doubt.’
– Svetlana Boym

I liked to imagine you roving / through poetry’s mountains, seeking the spot / where silence suddenly erupts in speech.
– Adam Zagajewski

To all mystical lineages, peace and more peace.
But I have to say that I’ve found -at least- equal amount of mystical insights in the best science-fiction and “fantasy” authors that I read in my adolescence as in versicles and sutras.
Winged hearts with no affiliation known, no vested interests in systems, but a devotion to Freedom.
– José Luis G. Soler

The actions, thoughts, and words of each of us are important. All of us together are making the world. So we have to ask ourselves: “How am I living? What kind of actions am I taking? Am I a force for good in the world or am I just another person doing nothing to help and therefore making things worse?
– Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong

All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.
– Leo Tolstoy

The contemplative life should liberate and purify the imagination which passively absorbs all kinds of things without our realizing it; liberate and purify it from the influence of so much violence done by the bombardment of social images. There is a kind of contagion that affects the imagination unconsciously much more than we realize. It emanates from things like advertisement and from all the spurious fantasies that are thrown at us by our commercial society. The contemplative life should liberate us from that kind of pressure, which is really a form of tyranny. Perhaps the best way to do this is in the midst of Nature. You need access to the woods, or to the sea. Get out in those hills and really be in the midst of Nature a little bit! The woods and Nature should be a part of your solitude . . .
– Thomas Merton

Would anything change, if we suddenly woke up to the fact that ALL THIS is a work of our own collective minds?
– Yolanda Rommel

Both of them have rare talents, are
drenched in human gravy, and both
have meant a great deal to me in
friendship and inward experience.
– Zora Neale Hurston

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

You are a woman of peace.
You bring harmony where there was conflict.
You bring light to the darkness.
You bring hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious, and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to have reverence for all creation.
Brìghde, you are a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
– Willow Ravenna

To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.
– Martha Nussbaum

If you comprehend it, it is not God.
– St. Augustine

Walk. The drum begins. Follow it. Follow the drums of thunder. Follow the sun. Follow the stars at night, follow the lightning and the open road. Follow your compulsion. Follow your calling. Follow anything except orders and habit. Follow the fire-fare-forwards of life itself. Go where you will, burn your bridges if you must, leave the paving stones smoldering and singe the gate as you leave, drop an incendiary device by The Wall, and scorch your way across the land. I dare you.
– Jay Griffiths

If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.
– Zadie Smith

It’s a universal law—intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

To see something is to remember it; otherwise there’s no seeing.
– Etel Adnan, from Night

When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like aged warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek,—
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again,—but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn!—What is the Spring to me?
– The Death Of Autumn – Edna St. Vincent Millais

by Melissa La Flamme
Someone has to name
the unnameable,
be wildly
unpopular, hint
at the tracks
we made to the places
we’ve hidden
all our good words,
our broken heart,
our chapters of old lies,
our tender, healing touch,
our ferocious
our courage
to embody fiercely
being alive.
Someone has to say
we have been warned
so that together
we shake down lies,
open the heart,
the mouth,
free the words,
the touch,
the grief, the power,
the healing tears,
the strength to
provoke the uncomfortable
in our self,
and in other’s at the edges
of our longing,
show one another
how to assassinate
those invisible patterns
of our own
throw our self naked,
beautifully prostituted
to the silky
Bare, tender,
we come on
like a thief famished
for soul,
hungry enough
to muster
how to steal back
from the Machine,
or from our mother,
our father,
from our own
clandestine maneuvers
to unconsciously collude
for the approval
of the ones pulling on our levers,
we become whores for the old familiar,
selling our Selves for
what smells like love,
trading out our own
true nature
to belong
in the wrong places.
We are here to
say the unsayable,
make all our relations
from easy answers,
from heavy slumber,
free from birth
Until we say
what is not right,
to stop it.
Until we say
the unsayable.
we point out lies,
ours and others’,
ruin our names
and take sides,
for the earth,
for each other,
risk ridicule,
for ruthless compassion,
for tender intelligence,
for the ceaseless
of love.

The other day I fell back in a pit of shame. Feeling miserable, I sat in the supermarket with a book in my hands. A person I know from family constellations came by. I was stunned: her face was radiant! The energy coming through her uplifted me in an instant. Thank you, thank you.
The next Buddha may be instant sanghas, everywhere, everywhen.
– José Luis G. Soler

The heart learns the scales of love, never knowing when the work will be turned into song.
– Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

by Langston Hughes
I am so tired of waiting,
Aren’t you,

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?

Those who speak of our culture as dead or dying have a quarrel with life, and I think they cannot understand its terms, but must endlessly repeat the projection of their own desires.
– Muriel Rukeyser

Humanity is a very, very hostile creature, an animal that is cruel and competitive to its own kind and all other life, and the only thing that can heal this blind loyalty to ‘My’ tradition and my group- many conveniently forget but this also includes your family, the loyalty and love only for your own tribe- while all outside are the devils, is experience of the open heart; a reevolution of defrosting and alighting of that deeper and collective level of the human heart, and realization that before we were educated out of it by ‘the authority’ we are all, no exceptions, born perfect and God already; the immanent in us all ‘consciousness and energy of life’s light’. Hence, we don’t need more education revolutions, economic revolutions, we don’t need more social revolutions or political revolutions, what we desperately need is open heart revolution that transforms us from animal human fighting with others for our conditioned beliefs, fighting for survival and local resources, to human human, outgrowing hording, progeny and power, and finally living as a ‘Light unto yourself’, which says, ‘the Spirit that burns in your heart is the same Spirit that burns in mine.

The true crisis in our world is not social, political, or economic, our crisis is the crisis of consciousness: an inability to directly experience our true nature, an inability to recognize this nature in everyone and in all things.
– Daniel Schmidt

And perhaps truth is in life, not away from life, not in books and some ideas, but truth is where we are, and how we live that life.
– J. Krishnamurti

…the planet doesn’t have any problems except people. What we are experiencing, the global crisis, is really reflecting somehow the level of consciousness evolution in the species. And if we could have our heads and hearts in a different place, you know, the planet could look very, very different.
– Stanislav Grof

…we have, I think, for the last forty thousand years have been developing individuality. And the whole development of ego is necessary in order for us to become individuals, not imbedded in nature, just purely children of god. So out of that we have individuated right up to the edge of individualisation now destroying us. Now, the way we become multicellular, the way we join together, is first of all, by individuals feeling the need to find that divine Self within, because you can’t really join as an ego to ego.
– Barbara Marx Hubbard

In October the red leaves going brown heap and
over hayfield and dirt road, over garden and circular
and rise in a curl of wind dishevelled as
at recess, school just starting and summer done,
white quiet beginning in ice on the windshield, in
hard frost
that only blue asters survive, and in the long houses
that once
more tighten themselves for darkness and
hunker down.
– Donald Hall

But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
– Stephen King

I am a weak, ephemeral creature made of mud and dream. But I feel all the powers of the universe whirling within me.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

If autumn is a time of tears and courage
as the Chinese believe,
then let us hitch ourselves to ruin,
give ourselves wholly to the harrowed heart,
get drunk on the whiskeyed light.
– Susan Elbe

Did you think you could soften the sorrow of yesterday with tomorrow?
– Steve Young

Memory, and time, both immaterial, are rivers with no banks, and constantly merging. Both escape our will, though we depend on them. Measured, but measured by whom or by what? The one is inside, the other, outside, or so it seems, but is that true? Time seems also buried deep in us, but where? Memory is right here, in the head, but it can exit, abandon that head, leave it behind, disappear. Memory, a sanctuary of infinite patience.
– Etel Adnan

If you think about why any story moves us, it’s because of a quaking moment of recognition. It’s never the shock of the new, it’s the shock of the familiar.
– Joshua Oppenheimer

It would seem nature gets lonely for moving life.
– Barry Hannah

Solastalgia is a term coined by Glenn Albrecht, an Australian academic. He defines it as the distress that results when people are subject to environmental change in the place they currently call home. Albrecht makes the point that solastalgia differs from the more familiar ‘nostalgia,’ which implies melancholy for where one used to live.
– Nicola Ross

I’m writing for a much blander universe than when I first started writing. I’m writing for people who are less patient with the word, who don’t give a damn about English, who find it just a vehicle. I mean, I started out in the days when Jim Dickey was hitting the road and lighting up audiences with his poetry. I believed in that stuff and still do. And now you’ve got a much lazier, more passive reader who has to be fed more.
– Barry Hannah

To express the truth. With a chisel. A word. With silence. With life.
– Anna Kamieńska

Water brings energy the way memory creates identity.
– Etel Adnan

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.
– Vincent van Gogh

Always, on the inside of our hardness and shyness and numbness is the face of compassion through which we can reclaim our humanity. Our compassion waits there to revive us. When opened, our heart can touch the Oneness of things we are all a part of. Then, we can stand firmly in our being like a windmill of spirit: letting the cries of the world turn us over and over, until our turning generates a power and energy that can be of use in the world.
– Mark Nepo

Meg Hutchinson:

At the end of my Theology and Trauma class this summer we had to create a “180 second hope statement” here’s mine:
There is a quote by a great Buddhist master,
“Because the thought of abandonment and achievement is not possessed, the absence of the harm of hope and fear is amazing.”
I had never thought of hope as something that could cause harm!
But the more I sat with those words the more true they started to feel.
Hope can close the story in. Hope can interfere with grief or sadness when applied too soon.
We use hope to tidy up a diagnosis, we use hope to turn away from our own mortality.
We hope that good things won’t ever change.
We hope for something that hasn’t happened yet.
But in the midst of our hoping for something else— often the present moment slips quietly right through the center of our lives… unnoticed, uninhabited.
This is how hope can haunt us.
So I’m learning to think of hope in a new way.
What does hope feel like if we get beyond “the thought of abandonment and achievement?”
Hope is starting to feel more like a resonance, a frequency.
Music and mental illness are woven together through the generations of my family.
I’ve inherited my grandmother’s guitar and my uncle’s guitar.
I’m left with the question of how to work with these genes?
How to work with the suffering of my ancestors in a way that can do some healing?
People say that the longer you play an instrument, the more resonant the tone becomes. It “opens up” over time.
Year after year the music is slowly changing the very structure of the wood.
If this wood can change, then my body can change also.
I feel that resonance when I’m singing and when I’m sitting still.
I get a glimpse of a space beyond both hope and fear, beyond achievement or abandonment.
Maybe there is such a thing as being “empty” with hope.
It takes sound and emptiness for the music to happen.
As my teacher always says, “where there is emptiness, everything is possible.”

I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly agree with all the world to lay aside the use of arms…
– Thomas Paine, 1775

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

If you touch the fear instead of running from it, you find tenderness, vulnerability, and sometimes a sense of sadness. This tender-heartedness happens naturally when you start to be brave enough to stay present, because instead of armoring yourself, instead of turning to anger, self-denigration, and iron-heartedness, you keep your eyes open…Becoming more in touch with ourselves gives birth to enormous appreciation for the world and for other people. It can sound corny, but you feel grateful for the beauty of the world. It’s a very special way to live. Your heart is filled with gratitude, appreciation, compassion, and caring for other people. And it all comes from touching that shakiness within and being willing to be present with it.
– Pema Chodron

Even the Gods
by Nicole Sealey
Even the gods misuse the unfolding blue. Even the gods misread the windflower’s nod toward sunlight as consent to consume. Still, you envy the horse that draws their chariot. Bone of their bone. The wilting mash of air alone keeps you from scaling Olympus with gifts of dead or dying things dangling from your mouth—your breath, like the sea, inching away. It is rumored gods grow where the blood of a hanged man drips. You insist on being this man. The gods abuse your grace. Still, you’d rather live among the clear, cloudless white, enjoying what is left of their ambrosia. Who should be happy this time? Who brings cake to whom? Pray the gods do not misquote your covetous pulse for chaos, the black from which they were conceived. Even the eyes of gods must adjust to light. Even gods have gods.

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

He drew a circle that shut me out- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!
– Edwin Markham

What we love doesn’t seem to matter. It’s all a holy excuse to love the world and ourselves back together.
– Mark Nepo, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.
– Swami Sivananda

This much I’m sure. It is hard to believe
in another morning’s gift now that the evening
lawn has learned to grieve. Tonight moonlight
keeps sending its condolences, as if forgotten
whites on the line at the far end of the yard
can no longer bear a body’s absence, and
that faint slant of lost light from a kitchen
window is not enough to bring anyone back.

Yet no one has left to forget that familiar way
home, those simple names of neighborhood streets:
Elm, Oak & Maple. Outside this window empty trees
keep rehearsing a sadness I wish I could ease.
Restless curtains ghost about as if they have some
other place to go. The once sure shadows have
now grown weary of their own quiet visits. Still

this room tries to hold onto everything it can.
Dresser mirror shines. Full moon shifts
to leave itself upon the polished floor – spent soul
too tired to find its body. But this is not a scene
where the sheet is slowly drawn over the head, or
the doctor helplessly closes his black leather bag.
The lawn has no reason for its plain, dark suit,
this solemn night – its one pale chrysanthemum.

Soon daylight will slip between the limbs,
begin to soften the lonesome, walled sorrow
of shadows. Even the last geese
that shall rise across this endless, gray longing
will not make much of what they leave behind –
no winter song for lifeless trees
nor grief given nights in the glove-quiet
that a pallbearer wears, finding
what it’s like to touch & not feel.
 – Gregory Sellers

The wild. I have drunk it, deep and raw, and heard it’s primal, unforgettable roar. We know it in our dreams, when our mind is off the leash, running wild. ‘Outwardly, the equivalent of the unconscious is the wilderness: both of these terms meet, one step even further on, as one,’ wrote Gary Snyder. ‘It is in vain to dream of a wildness distinct from ourselves. There is none such,’ wrote Thoreau. ‘It is the bog in our brains and bowls, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires the dream.’

And as dreams are essential to the psyche, wildness is to life.

We are animal in our blood and in our skin. We were not born for pavements and escalators but for thunder and mud. More. We are animal not only in body but in spirit. Our minds are the minds of wild animals. Artists, who remember their wildness better than most, are animal artists, lifting their heads to sniff a quick wild scent in the air, and they know it unmistakably, they know the tug of wildness to be followed through your life is buckled by that strange and absolute obedience. (‘You must have chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star,’ wrote Nietzsche.) Children know it as magic and timeless play. Shamans of all sorts and inveterate misbehavers know it; those who cannot trammel themselves into a sensible job and life in the suburbs know it.

What is wild cannot be bought or sold, borrowed or copied. It is. Unmistakable, unforgettable, unshameable, elemental as earth and ice, water, fire and air, a quintessence, pure spirit, resolving into no constituents. Don’t waste your wildness: it is precious and necessary.
– Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey

The wind says, “I am the voice beside you,
a leaf against the curb, a name you whisper
for the way it haunts you. You can hear
whatever the mind wants. I am still
holding a breath, the ghost beneath a sheet,
some lost moment a hinge finds. Open

the gate and walk away: you wish to turn
the porch light off and never look back
to the row of identical houses, your years
mortgaged with the familiar acts
of habits. Try to forget each hour spent
lying awake trying to forget, for regret
remembers regret, which is why

I never sweep the same place twice.
Often this voice is mistaken
for someone else. I remind others
of who they are, or wish to be. I know desires
better than any wildfire knows me.
So what do you wait for? A whim, a promise,
some dream? Think how dust settles
upon the shelf, how a tornado always loses
its funnel, how tomorrow becomes another day.
Think how capricious I am, for what
I bring to you, for what I take away.
 – Greg Sellers

In a world where we are left to renegotiate our traumas again and again, we have to find empathetic, patient witnesses. My grandmother used to say : Some people in your life need to be mirrors and show you who you are from time to time. Some people in your life need to be blankets and embrace everything you are from time to time. Keep your mirrors clean and bright. Keep your blankets soft and close.
 – Scherezade Siobhan

In October the red leaves going brown heap and
over hayfield and dirt road, over garden and circular
and rise in a curl of wind dishevelled as
at recess, school just starting and summer done,
white quiet beginning in ice on the windshield, in
     hard frost
that only blue asters survive, and in the long houses
     that once
more tighten themselves for darkness and
     hunker down.
 – Donald Hall

Laurence Overmire:
Though we may have our differences from issue to issue, I consider everyone with a good heart to be my ally in creating a better, more peaceful world. I daresay that includes most of humanity. It’s time we come together to do what’s right for the sake of all.

Jeff Brown:
This is a very fragile time. People don’t need to hear that they don’t exist, that there is no self, that none of this is real. That’s not a good message to communicate to people on the brink. Better yet, lets make a point of reminding people that they do exist, and that they really do matter. It’s okay to help them to understand that there is something beyond their misidentified self, but only if you also remind them that there is a beautiful, authentic self at the core of their being. To deny the self altogether, and then to offer them little more than a float into nothingness, is a grave, irresponsible error. One that may well lead them to the grave, before their time. Fragmented, traumatized individuals are already struggling with the meaning of all of this. Let’s not invite them so far away from the self, that they no longer have anything, or any one, to come home to.

I think that one’s art is just one’s effort to wed oneself to the universe, to unify oneself through union.
– Robert Motherwell (1951)

At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. .. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is.
– Annie Dillard

First, when I was apart from you this world did not exist.
Second, whatever I was wanting was always you.
Third, why did I learn to count to three?

Fourth, my cornfield is burning.

Five–five stands for wisdom and confusion.

Is weeping speech?

What shall I do with all this love?
– Rumi

I wondered how it could be that people could love God and hate one another.
– Julie Orringer, How to Breathe Underwater

A thing, until it is everything, is noise, and once it is everything, is silence.
– Antonio Porchia

love is not a destination,
but a journey.
not the view from a mountaintop,
but from the belly
of a whale.
not the answer,
but the celebration
of questions.
not a diamond,
but a splinter.
not the storm,
but the stillness that follows.
not hands washed,
but hands dirty.
not a candlelit dinner,
in an exclusive restaurant…
but a lifetime of meals shared,
on pajama couches,
in unmade beds,
driving down the road,
as if each moment,
were eternity.
– Eric Cockrell

But what would that be like
feeling the tide rise
out of the numbness inside
toward the place to which we go
washing over our worries of money,
the illusion of being ahead,
the grief of being behind,
our limbs young
rising from such a depth?
What would that be like
even in this century
driving toward work with the others,
moving down the roads
among the thousands swimming upstream,
as if growing toward arrival,
feeling the currents of the great desire,
carrying time toward tomorrow?
Tomorrow seen today, for itself,
the sea where all the rivers meet, unbound,
unbroken for a thousand miles, the surface
of a great silence, the movement of a moment
left completely to itself, to find ourselves adrift,
safe in our unknowing, our very own,
our great tide, our great receiving, our
wordless, fiery, unspoken,
hardly remembered, gift of true longing.
– David Whyte

There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the “end of time,” or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow.
– Thomas Paine, Rights of Man: Part 1, 1791

I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is. If I have understood Koyukon teachings, the forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, touch the living branch and feel the sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness.
– Richard Nelson, The Island Within

Nobody speaks to me. People fall in love with me, and annoy me and distress me and flatter me and excite me and – and all that sort of thing. But no one speaks to me. I sometimes think that no one can.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Years of meditation, studying and reflection have led me to believe that the Buddha Siddhattha Gotama was what I can only call a humanist and skeptic of the first order.
He had no time for the religion of his day or the eternally inconclusive debate as to whether or not there is a creator God.
His question wasn’t why are we here, but ‘here we are — now what?’
Clearly, he saw philosophy as a way of life to be put to use, not as an emotional crutch or a merely conceptual structure.
– Stephen Schettini

It’s remarkable to me how many Buddhists reflexively deny the conspicuously religious dimensions of Buddhism. Cannonical Buddhist orthodoxy incontrovertibly asserts existstance of supernatural beings such as demons, devas, and celestial realms of special heavens & hells… these are are accretions from its ancient Brahmanical roots. Buddhist orthodox doctrine even designates a special hell for apostates who deny the veracity of their supernatural tenants, namely karma and rebirth.
I gather the important thing is not hope, faith, or belief in these religious trappings, but earnest dedication to a dhamma and ethos that embraces the four noble truths and follows the suggested eightfold path.
– Andrew Hagel

Just Now
W. S. Merwin
In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks

The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.
– Paula Hawkins

Our job is to be an awake people…utterly conscious, to attend to our world.
– Louis Owens, Choctaw, Cherokee, Irish-American

I am sad because this world seems to be full of ‘wisdom’ that tells us to reject ourselves, to be something other, something better. I am sad because our culture demands palm oil, plastic, speed, sex…without regard for compassion, for love, for justice.
I am sad because we have heard all this before, and our reaction is to escape, to relax into depression instead of relaxing into cheerfulness, into doing something about it. I am sad because “People watch Netflix more than t…hey hang out with their friends, exercise, and read—combined.” But, yet, I am heartened because community still matters. I have so many friends who show up and speak with passion, yet kindness. I am heartened because I—tired and defeated as I am, sometimes—will rise again tomorrow, and greet the day, and work hard again. I am heartened because there is so much kindness, and gentleness, and honesty, in so many corners of this world where greed and environmental aggression have not yet made their way.
I am heartened because of you. You who care enough to read, and contemplate, and learn, and write, and share, and lead lives of mindful bravery. Good luck out there, sweethearts!
– Waylon Lewis

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
– Marcus Aurelius

Traditional elders often become dream interpreters and keepers of life-enhancing visions. Elders become “agents of the weird.” Thereby, they are able to bring the wisdom of the eternal to both the need for survival and the necessity to sustain the great imagination that allows culture to continually renew and revitalize itself. The wisdom of the elders connects survival with creation so that sustainability depends upon true creativity. If more people become weird enough to become wise, it becomes more likely that solutions for the great dilemmas that plague both nature and culture might be envisioned.
– Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny

Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals. It communicates and does all these incredible things.

- Tom Petty

If all I had was half a heart
Half a heart to give
I would tear it from my breast…
Just so you could live
I would pray to every god
Below and high above
Just to show you that my heart
Was safe for you to love
No one can predict the fear
That rises to the top
Like a train that blows its horn
Not knowing when to stop
I would buy a ticket on that train
To god knows where
Just to show you that my love
Was more than just a prayer
Your name is the only name
That tumbles from my lips
Your face is the only face
My heart would ever miss
I would trade five thousand friends
And all misunderstandings
I would take this lovers leap
With faith in softer landings
I would trade five thousand hearts
With every promise fleeting
Just to give you all my heart
Just to keep yours beating
– Cary Cooper

Why is it easier for people to imagine a planet without clean water and air than a planet without capitalism?
– Peter Capofreddi

May you not search for—in me what I am not
And may I not search in you—what you aren’t.
– Gulzar

It is sweet to think that I was a companion in an expedition that never ends.
– Czesław Miłosz

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 your 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

These are the things I prize And hold of dearest worth: Light of the sapphire skies, Peace of the silent hills, Shelter of the forests, comfort of the grass, Music of birds, murmur of little rills, Shadows of cloud that swiftly pass, And, after showers, The smell of flowers And of the good brown earth,- And best of all, along the way, friendship and mirth.
– Henry Van Dyke

The noise of the mind never dies. It can only be put in perspective, quieted until we can hear the more ancient voices that give us life.
– Mark Nepo,Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

so those nights where you have the perfect playlist and the stars start to come out while walking down darkened streets and every thing seems incrediblely alive and brilliantly clear? it’s like that.
– Christine Elbert

Human character evermore publishes itself. The most fugitive deed and word, the mere air of doing a thing, the intimated purpose, expresses character. If you act, you show character; if you sit still, if you sleep, you show it. You think, because you have spoken nothing when others spoke, and have given no opinion on the times, on the church, on slavery, on marriage, on socialism, on secret societies, on the college, on parties and persons, that your verdict is still expected with curiosity as a reserved wisdom. Far otherwise; your silence answers very loud. You have no oracle to utter, and your fellow-men have learned that you cannot help them; for, oracles speak. Doth not wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice?
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The League of Quiet Persons meets
monthly. Its quarters are a cavernous
warehouse away from traffic. Its
business is not to discuss business.
Minutes are read silently and tacitly approved.
Members listen to rain argue with corrugated
iron, a furnace with itself. Glances
are learnéd. It is not so much refuge
from noise the members seek in such company
as implicit permission not to speak,
not to answer or to answer for,
not to pose, chat, persuade, or expound.

Podium and gavel have been banned,
indeed are viewed as weaponry.
A microphone? The horror.
Several Quiet Persons interviewed
had no comment. A recorded voice
at the main office murmured only, “You
have reached the League of Quiet
Persons. After the tone, listen.
– Hans Ostrom

Let Us Believe in the Beginning of Cold Season
Forough Farokkhzad

I am cold,
I am cold, and it would appear
that I will never be warm again…
I am cold and I know
that nothing will be left
of all the red dreams of one wild poppy
but a few drops of blood.

I shall give up lines
and give up counting syllables too.
and I will seek refuge from the mob
of finite measured forms
In the sensitive planes of expanse.
I am naked, naked, naked,
I am naked as silence between words of love,
and all my wounds come form love,
from loving…

will I once again
comb my hair with wind?
will I ever again plant pansies in the garden
and set geraniums in the sky
outside the window?
will I ever again dance on wine glasses
will the doorbell call me again
toward a voice’s expectation?

I said to Mother, It’s all over now.
I said, Things always happen before one thinks;
we have to send condolences
to the obituary page.

We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

by Melissa La Flamme

Someone has to
say the unsayable.
Someone has to
be wildly
unpopular with the in crowd
make meaningful
to suss out the tracks
to the places
we’ve hidden
our power to act.

Someone has to
home transformative words pounding
in our broken heart,
open and clear chapters of old lies,
compassion and courage
to embody fiercely
being alive
and doing good.

Someone has to say
we have been warned

so that together
we act
to shake down fact,

open the heart,
the mouth
to free the medicine-words,
let loose the centering
touch to ground
the grief, the power,
the strength to act

as we provoke the uncomfortable
in our self,
and in others too far
from the edges,

show one another
how to assassinate
the invisible patterns
of our own
throw our self naked,
beautifully prostituted
to the silky and ready

someone has to
come on like a thief hungry
for soul,
muster the power
to steal back
from the Machine,

or from our mother,
our father,

our partner,

from our own
clandestine maneuvers
to unconsciously collude
for the approval
of anyone we let
pull on our levers,

make us whores for the old familiar,
sell our Selves for
what only looks like
love, trading out our
true nature
for false belonging
in the too small but comfortable
soul-wrong places
we settle into, lost
like loose change
in an expensive sofa.

We are here, aren’t we,
to unapologetically
say the unsayable,
make all our relations
held together by
gravity and bravery,
free from the paralysis
of convenience
and easy answers,
from slumber,

free from birth
until we say
what is not right,

to stop it.
Until we say
the unsayable.

we flush out lies,
ours and others’,

ruin our names
and take sides
arguing for rights,
the earth’s and ours,
unbridled by toxic privilege

we lavishly risk ridicule,
stand responsible
for ruthless
tender and liberating

for the ceaseless
of love.

Respect yourself more than others, respect your demands, even respect what is bad within you – for the love of God, don’t expect to make of yourself into a perfect person – don’t copy any ideal, copy your very self – that is the only way to live.
– Clarice Lispector

The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.
– Katherine Mansfield

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
– T.S. Eliot

I still had this idea that there was a whole world of marvelous golden people somewhere, as far ahead of me as the seniors at Rye when I was in the sixth grade; people who knew everything instinctively, who made their lives work out the way they wanted without even trying, who never had to make the best of a bad job because it never occurred to them to do anything less then perfectly the first time. Sort of heroic super-people, all of them beautiful and witty and calm and kind, and I always imagined that when I did find them I’d suddenly know that I belonged among them, that I was one of them, that I’d been meant to be one of them all along, and everything in the meantime had been a mistake; and they’d know it too. I’d be like the ugly duckling among the swans.
– Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

Our search for meaning isn’t limited to thoughts that were created to be meaningful and packaged in verse or easily extractable chunks. We can find meaning in everything – and everything is fair game. Your brain is, in fact, the ultimate commonplace collection, and everything you’ve ever read is in there somewhere, ready to come back into your consciousness when you want or need it.
– Will Schwalbe

I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.
– Haruki Murakami

Zen is very simple. Dishwashing time, just wash dishes; sitting time, just sit; driving time, just drive; talking time, just talk; walking time, just walk. That’s all. Not special. When you’re doing something, just do it. No opposites. But don’t hold. Thinking is ok. Checking is ok. Only holding is a problem. Don’t hold. If your mind is not holding anything, it is clear like space. This space is never broken.
– Zen Master Seung Sahn

We’re in an era of great breakdown, environmentally and socially and psychologically. And when systems break down, the ones who have the resilience to actually repair themselves, they move to a higher order of organization. And I think that this is characterized by something the complexity theorists call ‘robustness,’ that we can anticipate both a time of great robustness, which we’re in, with tremendous potential to wake up and take responsibility. And, at the same time, we’re in a lot of difficulties and we need resilience to make our way through this change.
– Roshi Joan Halifax

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
– Loren Eiseley

Where on the face of the earth can we find a spot, on which close investigation will not discover signs of that endless cycle of change, to which this earth has been, is, and will be subjected?
– Charles Darwin

Wallace J Nichols:

Sharing this poem by Natalie Wise in support of the ongoing efforts of my daughters, wife, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, grandmothers, friends and colleagues who are bravely speaking up and the boys and men who are paying attention and joining the conversation. #metoo

The trees can hardly breathe in November
They heave and ho in wind and weather
Just let me be, just let me go

But a pink sky helps heavy burdened hearts
Wake from slumber, seek warmth
Open eyes, lift them skyward

We are all fragile in fall
Seeking familiar faces and places
Burrowing and begging to borrow bravery

We walk home weary-wounded
Wishing a welcome that makes us alright
A place we belong, at least for the night

This sight, it lifts the saddest soul
A table laden with abundance of wealth
Rosy cheeks, ruffled hair, warm hands, health

Thanksgiving is here and not a day too soon
To lift the fog, to lift the gloom
I bow my head to pray, to praise

The trees, they see the light and cheer
Can’t help but whisper, soft but clear
I’ll stay, I’m here.
Me too. Me too.

Three Blank Pages
By John Flynn

They handed him an envelope from his pride and joy
Addressed to a number and sent by his little boy
But what was folded up inside it left him feeling down
For he opened that envelope and in it all he found were

Three blank pages
Not a single word
Just three blank pages

Now It had been a whole year since that man had seen his son
Because he had to do his bit but carrying a gun
Doesn’t make you stronger and it sure don’t make you tough
He’d stretch out on his bunk each night and try to make sense of

Three blank pages
Not a single word
Just three blank pages

He learned in a phone call with his wife a few weeks later
The boy hoped that his dad would write
And thought he might need paper

Three blank pages
Stained by a father tears
Just three blank pages

Three blank pages
Saying more than words
Just three blank pages

There is a pagan fertility whose power unites the alchemical and the political in the truly revolutionary – it is called art.
– t.k.

You must be ready to accept the possibility that there is a limitless range of awareness for which we now have no words; that awareness can expand beyond range of your ego, your self, your familiar identity, beyond everything you have learned, beyond your notions of space and time, beyond the differences which usually separate people from each other and from the world around them.
– Walter Evans-Wentz

A person’s life consists of a collection of events, the last of which could also change the meaning of the whole, not because it counts more than the previous ones but because once they are included in a life, events are arranged in an order that is not chronological but, rather, corresponds to an inner architecture.
– Italo Calvino

There is something in me maybe someday to be written; now it is folded, and folded, and folded, like a note in school.
– Sharon Olds

This soul layers blue
upon a snow’s quilt
of quiet. Still, the moon

takes credit for the pale lit
loneliness, dispenses more
light upon a dark counter

where a few caplets wait,
little tombstones without epitaphs,
bitter palmful of promises

for when days feel like clichés,
when nothing else comes to mind
except some recurring dream

dreamt in gray–
– Greg Sellers

The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions; the pain of this constant ambivalence … the struggle against diffusion, new beginnings …
– Anaïs Nin

The darkness grew dense. Glutinous. Pushing through it became an effort. Like swimming underwater.
– Arundhati Roy

And tell the imagination it is wrong
Till, lest it be undone,
it spin a lie
So fresh, so pure, so rare
As to possess the air.
– Richard Wilbur

If there’s any deity to me, it’s language.
– Joseph Brodsky

Let mind be more precious than soul; it will not
Endure. Soul grasps its price, begs its own peace,
Settles with tears and sweat, is possibly
Indestructible. That I can believe.
– Geoffrey Hill

Who can become lost in a narrative,
if all he can think of is the end?
– Mark Doty

The wound can have (should only have) just one proper name. I recognize that I love — you — by this: you leave in me a wound I do not want to replace.
– Jacques Derrida

It was at that time, that the silence was largest / And longest, the night was roundest, / The fragrance of the autumn warmest, / Closest and strongest.
– Wallace Stevens

Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers.
– Margaret Atwood

I thou
this that
here there
now then
what we do
– Andrew Hagel

Now we grieve waving fuzzy
avatars in the clotted air, virtual
mourners lining up to testify to
a glimpse of a wisp of your hair.
A bunch of phonies, you might say,
where were you when the fox got
stumbling drunk on mulberry wine,
when the cat caught and released
that woodpecker onto the crooked
ladder of my spine? Ham and
cheese on a hillock where before us
Mohawks and mountain lions
and countless freshmen and maybe
a few freedmen once sled. Some
soggy children, a lost Spiritualist
or two, late to the orgy, their donkey
having taken a wrong turn early on,
but you know what they say about
all paths winding up the same hill.
Overcomplicated, the hooks and latches
on this brassiere, by which I mean
embrace. Beloved nobodies, deranged
neighbors, doppelgängers every one,
who among us is willing to look
with proper awe at the gossamer fawn
newly pushed from its flesh palace
into the wrong season’s brisk air?
Snowflake, turn out that blue light.
Somehow we’ve ended up in the yard
again counting turkeys by hindsight.
Saintly, they’ll be martyred beneath
the paling sun. Come on, we whisper
to the near disappeared. Come on,
come out, come up. Okay then, we say,
go on, some boats are made for one.

If we can stay with the tension of
opposites long enough —sustain it,
be true to it—we can sometimes
become vessels within which the
divine opposites come together and
give birth to a new reality.
– Marie-Louise von Franz

We should invest in people, not ideas. A good idea is often destroyed by bad people, and good people can always make a bad idea better.
– Simon Sinek

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

All I know is that I’ve wasted all these years looking for something, a sort of trophy I’d get only if I really, really did enough to deserve it. But I don’t want it anymore, I want something else now, something warm and sheltering, something I can turn to, regardless of what I do, regardless of who I become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s sky. That’s what I want now, and I think it’s what you should want too. But it will be too late soon. We’ll become too set to change. If we don’t take our chance now, another may never come for either of us.
– Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans

Embody the reality you would like to exist, until it comes without effort.
– Jane Hirshfield

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
– Eric Roth

Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture,
      not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valvèd voice.
– Walt Whitman

But mostly I live here in the capricious present
Writing down one thing, then the next.
Autumn passes like empty freight cars—
Some doors open, some doors closed—
Light flickers and flashes through the cracks.
The trees are a thousand species of fires.
– Eric Pankey

I take my books and go,
living in the shade of my heart,
weaving from my verse’s silk
a new heaven…
– Adonis

And if I have hoped for more
it is only the whole of loneliness
swept away by understanding
– Joanna Klink

As a rule, the nagging, idiosyncratic, self-referential, persistent voice of the Muse takes a poet beyond imperfect and perfect unions alike, beyond utter disasters and paroxysms of happiness—at the expense of reality, with or without a real, reciprocating girl in it. In other words, the pitch gets higher for its own sake, as if the language propels a poet, especially a romantic, whence it came, wherein the beginning there was a word, or a discernible sound. Hence many a broken marriage, hence many a lengthy poem, hence poetry’s metaphysical affinities, for every word wants to return to where it came from, if only as an echo, which is the mother of rhyme.
– Joseph Brodsky

I am still that fond lament.
– Carmen Giménez Smith

The Muse, therefore, is not an alternative to the beloved but precedes her. In fact, as an “older woman,” the Muse, née language, plays a decisive part in the sentimental development of a poet. She is responsible not only for his emotional makeup but often for the very choice of his object of passion and the manner of its pursuit. It is she who makes him fanatically single-minded, turning his love into an equivalent of her own monologue. What amounts in sentimental matters to obstinacy and obsession is essentially the dictate of the Muse, whose choice is always of an aesthetic origin and discards alternatives. In a manner of speaking, love is always a monotheistic experience.
– Joseph Brodsky

Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.
– James Joyce

I wonder if I know enough to know what it’s really like
to have been here: have I seen sights enough to give
seeing over: the clouds, I’ve waited with white
October clouds like these this afternoon often before and

taken them in, but white clouds shade other white
ones gray, had I noticed that: and though I’ve
followed the leaves of many falls, have I spent time with
the wire vines left when frost’s red dyes strip the leaves

away: is more missing than was never enough: I’m sure
many of love’s kinds absolve and heal, but were they passing
rapids or welling stirs: I suppose I haven’t done and seen
enough yet to go, and, anyway, it may be way on on the way

before one picks up the track of the sufficient, the
world-round reach, spirit deep, easing and all, not just mind
answering itself but mind and things apprehended at once
as one, all giving all way, not a scrap of question holding back.
– A. R. Ammons

…Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving
you are arriving.
– David Whyte

Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.

And now our hearts are thick black fists

flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
– Edward Hirsch

Each of us inevitable,
Each of us limitless —
Each of us with his or her
right upon the earth,
Each of us allow’d

the eternal purports

of the earth,

Each of us here

as divinely as any is here.

- Walt Whitman

by Melissa La Flamme

Maybe you don’t really know what to trust
anymore. Your intuition
under siege,
rattled to the core
by trauma and the loss of the way
you thought it was supposed to be here.

Maybe your soul gave you the slip,
went so deep undercover
your True Name got lost.
So you’re searching now,
bone-tired and free from hope.
When you’re weary like that,
maybe even a wide open heart
seems like a trap set
for a rare creature,

but the one they call
radical empathy
is a threshold to freedom,
a breed of fierce compassion
crossed with decades of digging
through the rubble
of all it takes
just to be here.
You know what I mean.

But maybe after all
your eyes have seen,
the raw terrain of an open, true heart
is uncomfortably unfamiliar to you now,
leaves you feeling undeserving somehow,

reminds you that the force of love itself
can feel like an invasion
born of unknowable, penetrating forces
delivered by a midwife they call,
‘The Fascination of The Gods,’

and in that impossible place —
you learn the anima, animal Way
of your own soul;
your own Way to lick life alive again,
to reclaim
refuge in a world like this.

I have been shifting positions all my life. I like changing my mind.
– Danny Kahneman

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