Thursday, June 29, 2017

the spirit of a place





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Different places on the face of the earth have different vital effluence, a different vibration of chemical exhalation, a different polarity with the stars; call it what you like. 
But the spirit of a place is a great reality.


—D. H. Lawrence


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

i want to say








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Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems like fantastic mistakes are not mistakes, all that seems like error is not error; and it all has to be done. That which seems like a false step is the next step.

–Agnes Martin
Writings









Imagine better than the best you know. —Neville Goddard






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I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

–Henry David Thoreau
Walden: Or, Life in the Woods


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Sunday, June 25, 2017

)






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A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself.

—Niels Bohr




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Saturday, June 24, 2017

conditions






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By itself nothing has existence.
Everything needs its own absence.

To be is to be distinguishable, to be here and not there,
to be now and not then, to be thus and not otherwise.

Like water is shaped by the container, so is everything
determined by conditions (gunas).


–Nisargadatta Maharaj



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Friday, June 23, 2017

seduction






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Only
That Illumined
One
Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form
Had the charm to win my
Heart.

Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word
Two
Can make you know
Of
Love.


–Hafiz


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer. —Terence McKenna













breadcrumbs

 



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

–Jorge Luis Borges


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Friday, June 16, 2017

trickster





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How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, to be in your service, is the trick.


–Joseph Campbell


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If you are falling …. dive. –Joseph Campbell





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We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast…and anxiety comes along.

All you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.


–Joseph Campbell

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

from where it begins





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At the end of the year the stars go out
the air stops breathing and the Sibyl sings
first she sings of the darkness she can see
she sings on until she comes to the age
without time and the dark she cannot see

no one hears then as she goes on singing
of all the white days that were brought to us one by one
that turned to colors around us

a light coming from far out in the eye
where it begins before she can see it
burns through the words that no one has believed


—W.S. Merwin
The Pupil, 2001



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Macarius and the Pony






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People in a village
At the desert's edge
Had a daughter
Who was changed (they thought)
By magic arts
Into a pony.

At first they berated her
"Why do you have to be a horse?"
She could think of no reply.
So they led her out with a halter
Into the hot waste land
Where there was a saint
Called Macarius
Living in a cell.

"Father" they said
"This young mare here
Is, or was, our daughter.
Enemies, wicked men,
Magicians, have made her
The animal you see.
Now by your prayers to God
Change her back
Into the girl she used to be."

"My prayers" said Macarius,
"Will change nothing,
For I see no mare.
Why do you call this good child
An animal?"
But he led her into his cell
With her parents:
There he spoke to God
Anointing the girl with oil;
And when they saw with what love
He placed his hand upon her head
They realized, at once.
She was no animal.

She had never changed.
She had been a girl from the beginning.
"Your own eyes
(said Macarius)
Are your enemies.
Your own crooked thoughts
(said the anchorite)
Change people around you
Into birds and animals.
Your own ill-will
(said the clear-eyed one)
Peoples the world with specters.”



–Thomas Merton
Emblems of a Season of Fury
New Directions, 1963
 











Sunday, June 11, 2017

among the multitudes







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I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.
I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.

Nature's wardrobe
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, fieldmouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.

I didn't get a choice either,
but I can't complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.

Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.

A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.

A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.

A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.
What if I'd prompted only fear,
Loathing,
or pity?

If I'd been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?

Fate has been kind
to me thus far.

I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments

My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.

I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.


–Wislawa Szymborska




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an infinite community of light





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The moon is most happy
When it is full. 
And the sun always looks
Like a perfectly minted gold coin
That was just Polished
And placed in flight
By God's playful Kiss.

And so many varieties of fruit
Hang plump and round
From branches that seem like a Sculptor's hands.

I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly
Shaped by a soul within,
And the Earth itself,
And the planets and the Spheres--

I have gotten the hint:
There is something about circles
The Beloved likes.

Hafiz,
Within the Circle of a Perfect One
There is an Infinite Community
Of Light.


–Hafiz
something about circles












Sunday, June 4, 2017

listen





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3:30, sigh ...
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foraging for food on the mountain





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The wild up here is not creatures, wooded,
tangled wild. It is absence wild.
Barren, empty, stone wild. Worn-away wild.
Only the smell of weeds and hot air.
But a place where differences are clear.
Between the mind’s severity and its harshness.
Between honesty and the failure of belief.
A man said no person is educated who knows
only one language, for he cannot distinguish
between his thought and the English version.
Up here he is translated to a place where it is
possible to discriminate between age and sorrow.



–Jack Gilbert


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Saturday, June 3, 2017

the ball





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As long as nothing can be known for sure
(no signals have been picked up yet),

as long as Earth is still unlike
the nearer and more distant planets,

as long as there’s neither hide nor hair
of other grasses graced by other winds,
of other treetops bearing other crowns,
other animals as well-grounded as our own,

as long as only the local echo
has been known to speak in syllables,

as long as we still haven’t heard the word
of better or worse mozarts,
platos, edisons, elsewhere,

as long as our inhuman crimes
are still committed only between humans,

as long as our kindness
is still incomparable,
peerless even in its imperfection,

as long as our heads packed with illusions
still pass for the only heads so packed,

as long as the roofs of our mouths alone
still raise voices to high heavens –

let’s act like very special guests of honour
at the district firemen’s ball,
dance to the beat of the local oompah band
and pretend that it’s the ball
to end all balls.
I can’t speak for other –
for me this is misery and happiness enough:

just this sleepy backwater
where even the stars have time to burn
while winking at us
unintentionally.


–Wislawa Szymborska




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Friday, June 2, 2017

needful things






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Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Wu Men
Stephen Mitchell translation


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dharma






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The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she
would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.

If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.


Billy Collins



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