Saturday, January 18, 2020



What are we?

A fleeting, intricate presence riding a tiny speck of water and rock, out here in the dark, sailing the ship of wonder ever more deeply into the void from which we came, that is our true home and mysterious destination.

—Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J. Kripal
The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained


All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land.

And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death, but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.

—Ranier Maria Rilke
Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God 



We’re all — trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria — pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent Oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved. These struggles often result not in the evolution of stronger, more disconnected selves but in the dissolution of the self into relationship.

Because life is network, there is no “nature” or “environment,” separate and apart from humans. We are part of the community of life, composed of relationships with “others,” so the human/nature duality that lives near the heart of many philosophies is, from a biological perspective, illusory. We are not, in the words of the folk hymn, wayfaring strangers traveling through this world. Nor are we the estranged creatures of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads, fallen out of Nature into a “stagnant pool” of artifice where we misshape “the beauteous forms of things.” Our bodies and minds, our “Science and Art,” are as natural and wild as they ever were.

We cannot step outside life’s songs. This music made us; it is our nature.

Our ethic must therefore be one of belonging, an imperative made all the more urgent by the many ways that human actions are fraying, rewiring, and severing biological networks worldwide. To listen to trees, nature’s great connectors, is therefore to learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance, and beauty.

—David George Haskell


When you are ripe,
you will let go of yourself
and the part of you that is fruit
will fall and be happy
and the part of you that is branch
will tremble in the wind.

—Jamie Sabines
from Adam and Eve, 1952

Maria Popova at brainpickings
Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees


look at the unity of this


look at love...
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life

why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how unknown merges into the known

why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows
right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be?

Nader Khalili translation


Friday, January 17, 2020

love, and do as you like! —St. Augustine



People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream. And so when they collect possessions and things they like, they are apt to give them to other people. Because, have you ever noticed that when you start giving things away, you keep getting more?

—Alan Watts


Love flows from God to man,
Like a bird
Who rivers the air
Without moving her wings.

Thus we move in His world
One in body and soul,
Though outwardly separate in form.

As the Source strikes the note,
Humanity sings -
The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
And all the strings
Which are touched in Love
Must sound.

—Mechtild of Magdeburg

Thursday, January 16, 2020

inner light


No solid object is solid. It is made up of rapidly flashing packets of energy. Billions and trillions of packets of energy. They flash in and flash out of that space where the ‘object’ is. They do not just stay there. So, why does a human body or a car look like a solid continuous object when we now know that it is actually a rapidly flashing field of energy?

Think of a TV image. When you watch a movie, you see a person walk across the screen smoothly, yet in reality it is just a film reel with 24 slightly different frames a second so your eyes do not detect the gap between the frames. Even each of those frames is a composition of billions of light photons flashing at the speed of light. That is what your world is – a rapid flash that causes an illusion of being ‘solid’ and ‘continuous’.

Once you understand what your world is really, truly, you start to understand it’s true behavior and nature. You then change your view of it.

—David Cameron Gikandi


In the inmost of the smallest of all spaces
runs a mute and constant play of color, inaccessible to eyes.

It is the light shut in that once in the moment of creation
was born inward and abode there, going on, once it had broken 
up into the smallest of spectra in keeping with prismatic law at 
frequencies that by the sighted would be called colors
if they encountered eyes able to see.

It moved in periods unimaginably small for time and space
but still with time and space enough for the least of the small.
In fact it found it had ample room and time.

It moved in cycles of nanoseconds and microspaces
from white light and the colors of the spectrum and back to white light.
A kind of breathing for light.

The photons breathed and pulsated with one another,
alternating signs and levels.

So the light kept going in spectral balance
from dense light to split and back to dense light and split,
in spectral cycles infinitely repeated.

It was like a play of fans,
in keeping with the same law that holds for rainbows,
but with spread and folded fans alternating with one another
in keeping with the law of light inscribed in them.

It was the light when it dances enclosed
when it is not traveling abroad and seen.

It belongs to the nature of light that it can be shut in and 
still not die out in its movement,
that it preserves itself thus in the darkness as thought, intent 
and aptitude, that it remembers its changes
and performs its dance, its interplay.

With this art the light keeps together the innumerable 
swarms of matter and sings with light's spectral wings the 
endless song in honor of the fullness of the world.

—Harry Martinson


the stars write

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

—Octavio Paz


this moment


This moment is like this.

—Ajahn Sumedho


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen. —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Matter, which appears to be dense according to physics, actually is made up mostly of empty space, with a few very small particles moving around like planets. At high energy, other particles pass through what appears to be solid matter.
… As you probe more deeply into matter, it appears to have more and more subtle properties. In my view, the implications of physics seem to be that nature is so subtle that it could be almost alive or intelligent.
… The question is whether matter is rather crude and mechanical, or whether it gets more and more subtle, and becomes indistinguishable from what people have called mind.

—David Bohm
from Dialogues with Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity


what it could mean


Then there is the further question of what is the relationship of thinking to reality. As careful attention shows, thought itself is in an actual process of movement. That is to say, one can feel a sense of flow in the stream of consciousness not dissimilar to the sense of flow in the movement of matter in general. May not thought itself thus be a part of reality as a whole? But then, what could it mean for one part of reality to ‘know’ another, and to what extent would this be possible?

—David Bohm
Wholeness and the Implicate Order


i am that


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 something near you who loved you. They were about to touch you. You could feel this before it happened. Then it happened.

That is my name.

—Richard Brautigan
Watermelon Sugar 


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

queerly visible


You taught me the courage of stars before you left.
How light carries on endlessly, even after death.
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite.
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

With shortness of breath, I’ll explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.



For suppose, and mind it narrowly, that life is simply a shadow bodies cast inside themselves when struck by all those queerly various bits and particles, those pieces, those streams of—what?—of science. Death in such a case would be only another arrangement.

—William H. Gass
Omensetter’s Luck

Saturday, January 11, 2020


 Agnes Martin, Friendship, 1963


Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.
—John O'Donohue

extraordinary worlds


The sadness I have caused any face
by letting a stray word
strike it,

any pain 
I have caused you,
what can I do to make us even?
Demand a hundred fold of me - I'll pay it.

During the day I hold my feet accountable
to watch out for wondrous insects and their friends.

Why would I want to bring horror
into their extraordinary

Magnetic fields draw us to Light; 
they move our limbs and thoughts.

But it is still dark; 
if our hearts do not hold a lantern,
we will stumble over each other,

huddled beneath the sky
as we are.

I hold my feet accountable


When you are ripe, 
you will let go of yourself 
and the part of you that is fruit 
will fall and be happy 
and the part of you that is branch 
will tremble in the wind.

—Jamie Sabines
from Adam and Eve, 1952

There is something in personal love, caresses, and the magnetic flood of sympathy and friendship, that does, in its way, more good than all the medicine in the world. —Walt Whitman


This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,

Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labors to others,

Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,

Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or number of men,

Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young and with the mothers of families,

Read these leaves in the open air,
Every season of every year of your life,

Reexamine all you have been told,
At school at church or in any book,

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
And your very flesh shall be a great poem,

And have the richest fluency not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,

And between the lashes of your eyes,
And in every motion and joint of your body.

—Walt Whitman,
born 1819
Leaves of Grass


Friday, January 10, 2020

closer than breathing


You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything:
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! —
powers and people —

and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.

—Rainier Maria Rilke
Robert Bly version


Thursday, January 9, 2020

note to self


It is not the work that hinders (peace) but the idea that it is you who are doing it.

—Sri Ramana Maharshi


What you’re going to write is already there in the darkness. 

It’s not a matter of passing from one state to another. It’s a matter of deciphering something already there, something you’ve always done in the sleep of your life, in its organic rumination, unbeknown to you.

—Marguerite Duras
Barbara Bray version
from Practicalities