Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Our Souls



 




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In our souls everything
moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are ununderstandable and say nothing.


The deepest words
of the wise man teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.



Antonio Machado
The Soul is Here for Its Own Joy
Robert Bly translation








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Monday, October 20, 2014

listen







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i don't need
a companion who is
nasty sad and sour
the one who is
like a grave
dark depressing and bitter

a sweetheart is a mirror
a friend a delicious cake
it isn't worth spending
an hour with anyone else

a companion who is
in love only with the self
has five distinct characters

stone hearted
unsure of every step

lazy and disinterested
keeping a poisonous face

the more this companion waits around
the more bitter everything will get
just like a vinegar
getting more sour with time

enough is said about
sour and bitter faces

a heart filled with desire for
sweetness and tender souls

must not waste itself with
unsavory matters



–Rumi
Ghazal 119







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not to worry







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What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love? 
First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears

And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows

No one can ever keep. 

But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint. 


What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world
To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?
O the Beloved Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions -
Like Hafiz!



–Hafiz







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dropping keys







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The small person
Builds cages for everyone
She
Sees.

Instead, the sage,
Who needs to duck her head,
When the moon is low,
Can be found dropping keys, all night long
For the beautiful,
Rowdy,
Prisoners.


–Hafiz






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Sunday, October 19, 2014

today







 
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You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy,
mix them, mix them..



—Hafiz







everything is my Beloved








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I
do not
want to step so quickly
over a beautiful line on God’s palm
as I move through the earth’s
marketplace
today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world
without my eyes testifying to the truth
that everything is
my Beloved.

Something has happened
to my understanding of existence
that now makes my heart always full of wonder
and kindness.

I do not
want to step so quickly
over this sacred place on God’s body
that is right beneath your
own foot

as I
dance with
precious life
today.



–Hafiz







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a museum of the person







love is every only god








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love is every only god

who spoke this earth so glad and big
even a thing all small and sad
man,may his mighty briefness dig

for love beginning means return
seas who could sing so deep and strong

one queerying wave will whitely yearn
from each last shore and home come young

so truly perfectly the skies
by merciful love whispered were,
completes its brightness with your eyes

any illimitable star


–E. E. Cummings







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any tongue is a wind that was formerly water








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Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.

One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.


–Rumi





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Saturday, October 18, 2014

like a dream







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What we call the body is not feet or shins,
The body, likewise, is not thighs or loins.
It’s not the belly nor indeed the back,
And from the chest and arms the body is not formed.
 

The body is not ribs or hands,
Armpits, shoulders, bowels, or entrails;
It is not the head or throat:
From none of these is “body” constituted.

If “body,” step by step,
Pervades and spreads itself throughout its members,
Its parts indeed are present in the parts,
But where does the “body,” in itself, abide!

If “body,” single and entire,
Is present in the hand and other members,
However many parts there are, the hand and all the rest,
You’ll find an equal quantity of “bodies.”

If “body” is not outside or within its parts,
How is it, then, residing in its members?
And since it has no basis other than its parts,

How can it be said to be at all?


Thus there is no “body” in the limbs,
But from illusion does the idea spring,
To be affixed to a specific shape—
Just as when a scarecrow is mistaken for a man.
As long as the conditions are assembled,
A body will appear and seem to be a man.
As long as all the parts are likewise present,
It’s there that we will see a body.

Likewise, since it is a group of fingers,
The hand itself is not a single entity.
And so it is with fingers, made of joints—
And joints themselves consist of many parts.

These parts themselves will break down into atoms,
And atoms will divide according to direction.
These fragments, too, will also fall to nothing.
Thus atoms are like empty space—
they have no real existence.

All form, therefore, is like a dream,
And who will be attached to it, who thus investigates!
The body, in this way, has no existence;
What is male, therefore, and what is female!


–Shantideva
The Way of the Bodhisattva
© 1997 by the Padmakara Translation Group
Shambhala Publications, www.shambhala.com








Friday, October 17, 2014

not to worry









 
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The human skin is an artificial boundary: the world wanders into it, and the self wanders out of it, traffic is two-way and constant.

–Bernard Wolfe







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the physics of beauty







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The physics of beauty requires math. The sunflower has spirals of 21, 34, 55, 89, and - in very large sunflowers - 144 seeds. Each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. This pattern seems to be everywhere: in pine needles and mollusk shells, in parrot beaks and spiral galaxies. After the fourteenth number, every number divided by the next highest number results in a sum that is the length-to-width ratio of what we call the golden mean, the basis for the Egyptian pyramids and the Greek Parthenon, for much of our art and even our music. In our own spiral-shaped inner ear’s cochlea, musical notes vibrate at a similar ratio.

The patterns of beauty repeat themselves, over and over. Yet the physics of beauty is enhanced by a self, a unique, self-organizing system. Scientists now know that a single flower is more responsive, more individual, than they had ever dreamed. Plants react to the world. Plants have ways of seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing.

Rooted in soil, a flower is always on the move. Sunflowers are famous for turning toward the sun, east in the morning, west in the afternoon. Light-sensitive cells in the stem “see” sunlight, and the stem’s growth orients the flower. Certain cells in a plant see the red end of the spectrum. Other cells see blue and green. Plants even see wavelengths we cannot see, such as ultraviolet.
Most plants respond to touch. The Venus’s-flytrap snaps shut. Stroking the tendril of a climbing pea will cause it to coil. Brushed by the wind, a seedling will thicken and shorten its growth. Touching a plant in various ways, at various times, can cause it to close its leaf pores, delay flower reproduction, increase metabolism, or produce more chlorophyll.

Plants are touchy-feely. They taste the world around them. Sunflowers use their roots to “taste” the surrounding soil as they search for nutrients. The roots of a sunflower can reach down eight feet, nibbling, evaluating, growing toward the best sources of food. The leaves of some plants can taste a caterpillar’s saliva. They “sniff” the compounds sent out by nearby damaged plants. Research suggests that some seeds taste or smell smoke, which triggers germination.
The right sound wave may also trigger germination. Sunflowers, like pea plants, seem to increase their growth when they hear sounds similar to but louder than the human speaking voice.

In other ways, flowers and pollinators find each other through sound.
A tropical vine, pollinated by bats, uses a concave petal to reflect the bat’s sonar signal. 
The bat calls to the flower. The flower responds.


–Sharman Apt Russell
Anatomy of A Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers








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Dr. Bohumil Kröhn photo, 1937/38
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opposites







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God turns you from one feeling to another
and teaches by means of opposites,

so that you will have two wings to fly,
not one.


–Rumi






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breath has two points









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... your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body.

Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which is nearer to you.

If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the body. You move into some unknown dimension; then you can not be found in space and time. So, breath is also the bridge between you, and space and time.

Breath has two points.
One is where it touches the body and the universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the universe.

We know only one part of the breath. When it moves into the universe, into the body, we know it. But it is always moving from the body to the "no-body," from the "no-body" to the body.

There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors.

Man is trying to reach further, from earth into space, and man has not yet learned the nearest part of his life ...


–Osho
The Book of Secrets







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when








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When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner, and the above as the below,
and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female not be female,
then shall you enter the Kingdom.


–Jesus Christ















Thursday, October 16, 2014

Live at Verbier Festival (2007)










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pure spirit





 

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Everything is natural. The light on your fingertips is starlight. Life begins with coiling — molecules and nebulae. Cruelty, selfishness, and vanity are boring. Each self is many selves. Reason is beauty. Light and darkness are arbitrary divisions. Cleanliness is as undefinable and as natural as filth. The physiological body is pure spirit. Monotony is madness. The frontier is both outside and inside. The universe is the messiah. The senses are gods and goddesses. Where the body is — there are all things.

–Michael McClure







Wednesday, October 15, 2014

look









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This little finger covers the eye and prevents the whole world from being seen.
In the same way this small mind covers the whole universe and prevents Reality from being seen.


–Ramana Maharshi







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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

today







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Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot.

Seek the path that demands your whole being.


—Rumi





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Sabbaths, VII, excerpt








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There is a place you can go
where you are quiet,
a place of water and the light

on the water. Trees are there,
leaves, and the light
on leaves moved by air.

Birds, singing, move
among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come

to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be

little to say, less and less.
Here they are. Here you are.
Here as though gone.

None of us stays, but in the hush
where each leaf in the speech
of leaves is a sufficient syllable

the passing light finds out
surpassing freedom of its way.


–Wendell Berry








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how it works








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The wave said to the sea: “Could I be like you?” 

The sea replied: “It’s easy… just settle down."


—Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi






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Monday, October 13, 2014

today








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Consider the other kingdoms.

The trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals.
Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze.
Their
infallible sense of what their lives

are meant to be.

Thus the world grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

–Mary Oliver







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there is only one rule








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The sky
Is a suspended blue ocean.
The stars are the fish
That swim.

The planets are the white whales
I sometimes hitch a ride on,
And the sun and all light
Have forever fused themselves
Into my heart and upon
My skin.

There is only one rule
On this Wild Playground,
For every sign Hafiz has ever seen
Reads the same.

They all say,
"Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,
In the Beloved's Divine
Game,
O, in the Beloved's
Wonderful Game.


–Hafiz 
Daniel Ladinsky version








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sitting together








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We sit in this courtyard,
two forms, shadow outlines with one soul.

Birdsound, leaf moving, early evening star,
fragrant damp, and a sweet sickle curve of moon.

You and I in a round, unselved idling
in the garden-beauty detail.

The raucous parrots laugh,
and we laugh inside their laughter, 
the two of us on a bench in Konya, 
yet amazingly in Khorasan and Iraq as well.

Friends abiding this form,
yet also in another, outside of time, you and I.


–Rumi 







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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lynn Ungar's Thanksgiving










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I have been trying to read
the script cut in these hills-
a language carved in the shimmer of stubble
and the solid lines of soil, spoken
in the thud of apples falling
and the rasp of corn stalks finally bare.

The pheasants shout it with a rusty creak
as they gather in the fallen grain,
the blackbirds sing it
over their shoulders in parting,
and gold leaf illuminates the manuscript
where it is written in the trees.

Transcribed onto my human tongue
I believe it might sound like a lullaby,
or the simplest grace at table.
Across the gathering stillness
simply this: "For all that we have received,
dear God, make us truly grateful."


–Lynn Ungar









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gratitude









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I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

—G. K. Chesterton






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Wendell Berry's Thanksgiving








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Learn by little the desire for all things
which perhaps is not desire at all

but undying love which perhaps
is not love at all but gratitude 


for the being of things which perhaps
is not gratitude at all

but the maker’s joy in what is made,
the joy in which we come to rest.



–Wendell Berry
from Leavings








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sweet gratefulness









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You wear coarse wool, but you're a king,
as the soul's energy hides, as love
remembers. You enter this room in a human
shape and as the atmosphere we breathe.

You are the central pole through the nine
levels connecting them and us to absolute
absence. So that we can have what we want,
you give failure and frustration. You want

only the company of the lion and the lion
cub, no wobbly legs. That man there, you
suggest, might remove his head before
entering the temple. Then he could listen

without ears to a voice that says, My
creature. A month of walking the road, you
make that distance in one day. Never mind
gold and silver payments. When you feel

generous, give your head. My beauty,
you have no need for a guide. The one
who follows and the one who leads are
inseparable, as the moon and the circle

around it. An Arab drags his camel town
to town. You go through your troubles
and changing beliefs, both no different from
the moon moving across or basil growing

and getting cut for a bouquet. It doesn't
matter you've been lost. The hoopoe is
still looking for you. It's another
beginning, my friend, this waking in a

morning with no haze, and help coming
without your asking! A glass submerged
is turning inside the wine. With grief
waved away, sweet gratefulness arrives.


–Rumi
Ghazal (Ode) 2935

Coleman Barks, Nevit Ergin version








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lightening








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Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. 
Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. 

Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. 

The depth of the drop is the height of the moon.
Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

–Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)








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Friday, October 10, 2014

one word for love









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Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling.

Eskimos have thirty words for snow, because it is a life-and death matter to them to have exact information about the element they live with so intimately.

If we had a vocabulary of thirty words for love … we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart. 

An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow; we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love. 

Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it come to feeling. 


–Robert Johnson
The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden







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