Friday, January 15, 2021

Walking Meditation


Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.

We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.

Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.

We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.

Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.

Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Thich Nhat Hanh


note to self


life is a garden,
not a road

we enter and exit
through the same gate

where we go matters less
than what we notice



I am a traveler



I am a fountain, You are my water.
I flow from You to You.

I am an eye, You are my light,
I look from You to You.

You are neither my right nor my left.
You are my foot and my arm as well.

I am a traveler, You are my road.
I go from You to You.

—Zeynep Hatun, 15th Century,
Murat Yagan translation


Thursday, January 14, 2021

changed and odd


In the very earliest time, when both people and animals lived on earth, a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal could become a human being.

Sometimes they were people and sometimes animals and there was no difference. All spoke the same language.

That was the time when words were like magic. The human mind had mysterious powers. A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive and what people wanted to happen could happen—all you had to do was say it.

Nobody can explain this:
That's the way it was.

 was an Inuit woman interviewed by ethnologist Knud Rasmussen
in the early twentieth century.

. . .

Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen for a long time.

My soul turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
and an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions. What should I reply?

—Hermann Hesse

Alex Saberi

song of my)self


And I know that the hand of God is the elderhand of my own,

And I know that the spirit of God is the eldest brother of my own,

And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,

And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,

And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,

And mossy scabs of the wormfence, and heaped stones, and elder and mullen and pokeweed.

—Walt Whitman
from Song of Myself, Leaves of Grass 


apparently useless peculiarities



Here it is that we approach that attitude of the self, that point of view, which is loosely and generally called mystical.

Here, instead of those broad blind alleys which philosophy showed us, a certain type of mind has always discerned three straight and narrow ways going out towards the Absolute.

In religion, in pain, and in beauty—and not only in these, but in many other apparently useless peculiarities of the empirical world and of the perceiving consciousness—these persons insist that they recognize at least the fringe of the real.

—Evelyn Underhill

. . .

Brother stand the pain; 
Escape the poison of your impulses.
The sky will bow to your beauty, if you do. 

Learn to light the candle. Rise with the sun. 
Turn away from the cave of your sleeping. 
That way a thorn expands to a rose. 
A particular glows with the universal


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

the creative point of life


We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we’re in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. 
That now is the creative point of life. 

So you see it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that. Also, watch the flow of music. The melody as it’s expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence—you wait till later to find out what the sentence means … 

The present is always changing the past.

—Alan Watts

. . .

Moments, crumbs, fleeting configurations—no sooner have they come into existence than they fall to pieces. Life? There’s no such thing; I see lines, planes, and bodies, and they’re transformations in time. 
Time, meanwhile, seems a simple instrument for the measurement of tiny changes, a school ruler with a simplified scale—it’s just three points: was, is, and will be.

—Olga Tocarczuk

. . .

Adventures come to the adventurous, and mysterious things fall in the way of those who, with wonder and imagination, are on the watch for them; but the majority of people go past the doors that are half ajar, thinking them closed, and fail to notice the faint stirrings of the great curtain that hangs ever in the form of appearances between them and the world of causes behind. 
For only to the few whose inner senses have been quickened, perchance by some strange suffering in the depths, or by a natural temperament bequeathed from a remote past, comes the knowledge, not too welcome, that this greater world lies ever at their elbow, and that at any moment a chance combination of moods and forces may invite them to cross the shifting frontier.

—Algernon Blackwood
Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories

There are many great voices but not all are human. —Native American proverb


Magic, then in its most primordial sense, is the experience of existing in a world made up of multiple intelligences, the intuition that every form that one perceives—from the swallow swooping overhead to the fly on a blade of grass, and indeed the blade of grass itself—is an experiencing form, an entity with its own predilections and sensations, albeit sensations that are different from our very own.

… and indeed every water hole, every forest, every cluster of boulders or dry creekbed has its own Dreaming, its own implicit life. The vitality of each place, moreover, is rejuvenated by the human enactment, and en-chant-ment, of the storied events that crouch within it. 

—David Abram
The Spell of the Sensuous

i dreamed


And I asked myself about the present: 
how wide it was, how deep it was,
how much was mine to keep.

—Kurt Vonnegut 

. . .

I dreamed I spoke in another’s language,
I dreamed I lived in another’s skin,
I dreamed I was my own beloved,
I dreamed I was a tiger’s kin.

I dreamed that Eden lived inside me,
And when I breathed a garden came,
I dreamed I knew all of Creation,
I dreamed I knew the Creator’s name.

I dreamed–and this dream was the finest–
That all I dreamed was real and true,
And we would live in joy forever,
You in me, and me in you.

—Clive Barker 
Days of Magic, Nights of War 


Saturday, January 9, 2021

the nature of the ten thousand things


A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole - this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel - this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill - this refers to a difference in nature. 

Now, do you say that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. 

This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously it is impossible.

—Chuang Tzu (c.369 BC - c.286 BC)



free and yet orderly



All being, it seemed, was built on opposites, on division. Man or woman, vagabond or citizen, lover or thinker — no breath could both be in and out, none could be man and wife, free and yet orderly, knowing the urge of life and the joy of intellect. 
Always the one paid for the other, though each was equally precious and essential.

—Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)
Narcissus and Goldmund

. . .

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.



the spirit is the bouquet of nature


The divine manifestation is ubiquitous, only our eyes are not open to it. Awe is what moves us forward.

Live from your own center. The divine lives within you.
The separateness apparent in the world is secondary.

Beyond the world of opposites is an unseen, but experienced, unity and identity in us all.

You must return with the bliss and integrate it.
The return is seeing that the radiance is everywhere.

The world is a match for us. We are a match for the world.
The spirit is the bouquet of nature.

Sanctify the place you are in.

—Joseph Campbell


Friday, January 8, 2021

And The World Weeps


here i came to the very edge 
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.


—Pablo Neruda


Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour


Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think

The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing: 

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence. 

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous. 

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one . . .
How high that highest candle lights the dark. 

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

—Wallace Stevens


War and Peace Within


When we practice deep looking directed toward the heart of reality, we receive help, we receive understanding, we receive the wisdom that makes us free.

—Thich Nhat Hanh
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart


Thursday, January 7, 2021

a song on the end of the world


And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.

As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

—Czesław Miłosz


How do words expand to embrace the world?


The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. 

At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.

—Carl Gustav Jung

. . .

But words are beings: the game will bewitch you until you become part of it; you will spend your life defending the right of the game to lure you into the maze, to lure you into humour. You read and you do not understand what you read, and so you read more, enjoying the power of words to differ from the mundane. Words are waves. You learn to swim out of the tempting wave which covers you with foam. 

Words have the rhythm of the sea and the call of the mysterious: “ Come to me, to me in search of what you know not,” the blue calls to you. Luck and the coastguard saved you from certain death with the sound of words. The lamp of the sea still scratches, but you have not shunned your love to the sea, the source of the primal rhythm. How is the sea imprisoned in three letters, the second of them overflowing with salt? How do letters expand to make room for all these words? How do words expand to embrace the world?


—Mahmoud Darwish
Absent Presence
Mohammed Shaheen version

dear world


One regret, dear world
That I am determined not to have 
When I am lying on my deathbed 

Is that 
I did not kiss you enough.



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

time is a child


In 1950, on the occasion of his 75th birthday, Jung set up a stone cube on the lakeshore, just west of the Bollingen Tower, inscribing it on three sides. One side contains a quote taken from the Rosarium philosophorum: Hic lapis exilis extat, pretio quoque vilis, spernitur a stultis, amatur plus ab edoctis.

Here stands the mean, uncomely stone, ‘Tis very cheap in price! The more it is despised by fools, The more loved by the wise. 

A dedication is also inscribed on this side of the stone: IN MEMORIAM NAT[ivitatis] S[uae] DIEI LXXV C G JUNG EX GRAT[itudine] FEC[it] ET POS[uit] A[nn]O MCML.

In memory of his 75th birthday, C.G. Jung out of gratitude made and set it up in the year 1950.

The second side of the cube depicts Jung’s Telesphoros figure, bearing a lantern and wearing a hooded cape. It is surrounded by a Greek inscription: «Ὁ Αἰὼν παῖς ἐστι παίζων, πεττεύων· παιδὸς ἡ βασιληίη» · Τελεσφόρος διελαύνων τοὺς σκοτεινοὺς τοῦ κόσμου τόπους, καὶ ὡς ἀστὴρ ἀναλάμπων ἐκ τοῦ βάθους, ὁδηγεῖ «παρ’ Ἠελίοιο πύλας καὶ δῆμον ὀνείρων».

Time is a child — playing like a child — playing a board game — the kingdom of the child. This is Telesphoros, who roams through the dark regions of this cosmos and glows like a star out of the depths. He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams.

"Time is a child at play, gambling; a child’s is the kingship” is a fragment attributed to Heraclitus.

“He points the way to the gates of the sun and to the land of dreams” is a quote from the Odyssey (Book 24, Verse 12). It refers to Hermes the psychopomp, who leads away the spirits of the slain suitors.

The second side also contains a four-part mandala of alchemical significance. The top quarter of the mandala is dedicated to Saturn, the bottom quarter to Mars, the left quarter to Sol-Jupiter [male], and the right quarter to Luna-Venus [female].

The third side of the cube is the side that faces the lake. It bears a Latin inscription of sayings which, Jung says, “are more or less quotations from alchemy.”

The inscription reads: I am an orphan, alone; yet, I am found everywhere. I am one, but contrary to myself. I am youth and old man at the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I must be lifted up from the depth like a fish, or i fall from the sky like a white stone. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of time.


From the one comes two,
from two, three,
and from the third comes the one as the fourth.

the essential

all things


The earth is not a dead body, but is inhabited by a spirit that is its life and soul.

All created things, minerals included, draw their strength from the earth spirit.

This spirit is life, it is nourished by the stars, and it gives nourishment to all the living things it shelters in its womb.

—Basilius Valentinus
15th Century Benedictine
monk and alchemist

. . .

All things in this creation exist within you, and all things in you exist in creation; there is no border between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things. 

In one atom are found all the elements of the earth; in one motion of the mind are found the motions of all the laws of existence; in one drop of water are found the secrets of all the endless oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence.

—Kahlil Gibran


love's secret



A poet once said, ‘The whole universe is in a glass of wine.’ We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. 
There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe’s age, and the evolution of stars. 
What strange arrays of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. 
Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! 
If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! 
So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!

—Richard Feynman
The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 1, 1964

. . .


Not a single soul lacks
a pathway to you.

There is no stone,
no flower
not a single piece of straw
lacking your existence.

In every particle of the world,
the moon of your love
causes the heart
of each atom to glow.

—Muhammad Shirin Maghribi  
Love's Alchemy
David and Sabrineh Fideler version

. . .

Love plays its lute behind the screen -
where is a lover to listen to its tune?

With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked,

The world has spilled Love's secret -
when could music ever hold its tongue?

Every atom babbles the mystery -
Listen yourself, for I'm no tattletale!

—Fakhruddin Iraqi
Divine Flashes

 . . .

The hoopoe intones: 'So you must desire with your heart and more

Beyond the enticement of words and knowledge of the stars.
You must want with all your being, you must be sure
Of your substance, which first you have to find far
Within you, to mine your soul's gold to start on the Way.

If you cannot stomach a grain nor sip a simple glass
How do you think that you can sit at the Simurgh's table, pray?
If you drown in a drop, blotted out by a hand's pass,
You will never learn to plumb the depths nor rise 

To the heaven you say you seek, that waits for you.
You must learn to be bewildered, restore surprise
In your heart and eyes, and learn to know what's true.'

The birds consider his challenge with hooded eyes, let it burn
Their serried minds, then they reply: 'We are weak
And aimless atoms, we have no wit to seek and discern
Him who stands above and beyond yet within, we cannot seek
What we do not understand. He is Solomon, the Ark
That contains us all, we are peripheral, mere ants
At the bottom of the pit scrabbling about in the dark.

We cannot see nor speak of the great Simurgh, we pant
With trepidation when we even begin to consider His being;
He is beyond all moral exchange, or the burden of seeing.'

The hoopoe hears these words with rising ire:
'You are without true aspiration, your hearts are 
Devoid of discrimination, you chatter as you enter the fire
Unwittingly, you fail to see that you can be within that far
And near mystery if only you would charter love and set out
With opened eyes, do not falter, discount your petty life here.

He is the light that ferries shadows which crave to live without
But always fail, His gaze turns them into fleeing birds where
All is form and substance erased; you are shadows of His word.

You must pierce this empty space with your shadowed mind
And if you speak with the discipline of love, you will sense
The Simurgh's shadow which is you, and in your desert find
The Way, that ocean in which you can immerse yourself, in His being
That resides in your heart and in the planted stars without you seeing.'

—Farid ud-Din Attar
The Conference of Birds
interpreted by Raficq Abdulla


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Make your own Bible

Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings
have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


note to self

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

. . .

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

—Sri Ramana Maharshi





I have been thinking of the difference between
water and the waves on it.

Rising, water's still water, falling back, it is water.
Will you give me a hint how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word "wave,"
do I have to distinguish it from water?
There is a Secret One inside us; the planets in all the galaxies pass through his hands like beads.

That is a string of beads one should look at
with luminous eyes.


Monday, January 4, 2021

the one who is at home


Each day I long so much to see
The true teacher. And each time
At dusk when I open the cabin
Door and empty the teapot,
I think I know where he is:
West of us in the forest.
Or perhaps I am the one
Who is out in the night,
The forest sand wet under
My feet, moonlight shining
On the sides of the birch trees,
The sea far off gleaming.

And he is the one who is 
At home. He sits in my chair
Calmly; he reads and prays
All night. He loves to feel
His own body around him;
He does not leave the house.

—Francisco Albanez
Robert Bly version





Thinking and prayer are much the same thing anyway, when you stop to think about it ... Prayer goes up and thought comes down—or so it seems. As far as I can tell, that's the only difference.

—Alan Bradley
A Red Herring Without Mustard

. . .

Certain thoughts are prayers. 

There are moments when,
whatever be the attitude of the body,

the soul is on its knees.

—Victor Hugo


the house we live in


What we speak
becomes the house
we live in. 
Who will want
to sleep in your bed
if the roof leaks
right above it?

Fear is the 
cheapest room 
in the house,
I would like
to see you living
in better conditions.

There is only one reason
we have followed God
into this world:
to encourage laughter,
dance and love ....

God and I are rushing
from every corner of 
needing to say
we are yours.

The sun never says
to the earth,
even after all this time
“you owe me”.

I once asked a bird
how is it that you 
fly in this gravity
of darkness?
she responded,
love lifts me.

I should not make 
any promises right now
but I know if you pray
somewhere in this world
something good 
will happen.

Daniel Ladinsky and

Robert Bly version