Friday, November 27, 2020

queerly various


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 





The Maitri Upanishad mentions two aspects of Brahman, the higher and the lower. The higher Brahman being the unmanifest Supreme Reality which is soundless and totally quiescent and restful, the lower being the Shabda-Brahman which manifests itself into the everchanging restless cosmos through the medium of sound vibrations. 
The Upanishad says that “Two Brahmans there are to be known: One as sound and the other as Brahman Supreme.” The process of manifestation is from soundless to sound, from noumenality to phenomenality, from perfect quiescence of "being” to the restlessness of “becoming”..

—Sudhakar S.D, 1988, p83

. . .

Everyone is the other, and no one is himself. The they, which supplies the answer to the who of everyday Dasein, is the nobody to whom every Dasein has always already surrendered itself, in its being-among-one-another.

—Martin Heidegger
Being and Time
Joan Stambaugh translation

. . . 

The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

the soul of the whole


We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One. 

And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are One.

We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole of which these are shining parts, is the soul.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

. . .

Everything you see has its roots
In the unseen world.

The forms may change
Yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened.

The Source they come from is Eternal,
Growing, branching out,
Giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep?
That Source is within you
And this whole world
Is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
Drink your fill!

Don’t think it will ever run dry,
This is the endless Ocean.


whales sleeping

Thursday, November 26, 2020

the highest form of thought


There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real.

It is the fundamental fact of being, as against not being; it is unthinkable, yet we cannot unthink it, though we may sometimes be unthinking about it; unthinking and especially unthanking. For he who has realized this reality knows that it does outweigh, literally to infinity, all lesser regrets or arguments for negation, and that under all our grumblings there is a subconscious substance of gratitude.

. . .

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

—G. K. Chesterton


thank you



We offer gratitude to and for all friends

Who create, remake and refine one another;

Who point to stars and keep us from the dark;

Who help us hear the music in the silent places ...

Who hold us and will not let us go.

—Marge Ackley

. . .

We kneel in gratitude
as the movements in love
disperse our sweet intentions
across the fictions
of Companionship-

two of the creatures
which You named Me

—Leonard Cohen


blessings be


Thanks and blessings be
to the Sun and the Earth
for this bread and this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
thanks be and blessing to them
who prepare it, and who serve it;
thanks and blessings to them
who share it
(and also the absent and the dead).

Thanks and Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
and to them who plant and tend it,
harvest and gather it
(may they not want);
thanks and blessing to them who work
and blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine and robs
the taste from the salt.

Thanks be for the sustenance and strength
for our dance and work of justice, and of peace.

—Rafael Jesus Gonzalez
In Praise of Fertile Land


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

for thousands of lifetimes, you and i have been one


May the Sound of this Bell Penetrate deep into the Cosmos 
Even in the darkest spots Living Beings are able to hear it clearly 
So that all suffering in them cease Understanding come to their hearts 
And they transcend the path Of Sorrow and Death 

The Universal Dharma Door Is already open 
The Sound of the Rising Tide is heard clearly 

The miracle happens 
A beautiful child appears in the heart of a Lotus flower 
One single drop of this Compassionate 
Water Is enough to bring back the refreshing Spring 
To our Mountains and Rivers 
Listening to the Bell I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve 
My mind calm, my body relaxed 
A smile is born on my lips 
Following the Sound of the Bell 
My breath brings me back to the safe Island of Mindfulness 
In the Garden of my Heart 
The flowers of Peace Bloom beautifully

. . .

I know that for thousands of lifetimes,
you and I have been one,
and the distance between us is only a flash of thought.
Just yesterday while walking alone,
I saw the old path strewn with Autumn leaves,
and the brilliant moon, hanging over the gate,
suddenly appeared like the image of an old friend.

And all the stars confirmed that you were there!
All night, the rain of compassion continued to fall,
while lightning flashed through my window
and a great storm arose,
as if Earth and Sky were in battle.

Finally in me the rain stopped, the clouds parted.
The moon returned,
shining peacefully, calming Earth and Sky.
Looking into the mirror of the moon, suddenly
I saw myself,
and I saw you smiling, Blessed One.
How strange!

—Thich Nhat Hanh 


People say that the soul, on hearing the song of creation, entered the body, but in reality the soul was the song itself. —Hafiz


I live my life in growing orbits which move out over this wondrous world, I am circling around God, around ancient towers and I have been circling for a thousand years. 
And I still don't know if I am an eagle or a storm or a great song.

―Rainer Maria Rilke



Initiation Song from the Finders' Lodge


Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreath
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.

—Ursula Le Guin
Always Coming Home


Tuesday, November 24, 2020



It is the one Reality which appears to our ignorance as a manifold universe of names and forms and changes. Like the gold of which many ornaments are made, it remains in itself unchanged. Such is Brahman, and That art Thou.

—Adi Shankara

. . .

Just as one might have to turn the whole body round in order that the eye should see light instead of darkness, so the entire soul must be turned away from this changing world, until its eye can bear to contemplate reality and that supreme splendour which we have called the Good.


. . .

The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony, and all things take place by strife.

—Heraclitus of Ephesus
On Nature, Fragments 
G. T. W. Patrick, translation

Brahmin moth, transformed



Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence

—W.S. Merwin


hints of earlier and other creation


Fate is the endless chain of causation, whereby things are; the reason or formula by which the world goes on. 

—Zeno of Citium, (334 BCE - 262 BCE) 
Greek Stoic Philosopher

. . .

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:

The sea has many voices….
the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence

For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.

These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual….
And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised….
The life of significant soil.

—T.S. Eliot
No. 3 of Four Quartets

. . .

There is a being wonderful, perfect; 
It existed before heaven and earth. 

How quiet it is!
How spiritual it is! 

It stands alone and it does not change;
It moves, but does not on that account suffer. 

All life comes from it, yet it does not demand to be Lord. 
I do not know its name, so I call it Tao, the Way, 
And I rejoice in its power.

—Tao Te Ching
25th Chapter


Monday, November 23, 2020

Incredible the animal that first dreamed of another animal. —Carlos Fuentes


You know, all mystics - Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion - are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. 
Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.

—Anthony de Mello

. . . 

Your thinking that you have to make an effort to get rid of this dream of the waking state, and your making efforts to attain jnana (realization of Self) or real awakening, are all parts of the dream.

—Ramana Maharshi 

... the little lips!  

you are the consciousness


Every time you go to sleep you have the experience of being without a mind. You cannot deny that you exist while you are asleep and you cannot deny that your mind is not functioning while you are in dreamless sleep.

This daily experience should convince you that it is possible to continue your existence without a mind. Of course, you do not have the experience of full consciousness while you are asleep, but if you think about what happens during this state you should come to understand that your existence, the continuity of your being, is in no way dependent on your mind or your identification with it.

When the mind reappears every morning you instantly jump to the conclusion, ‘This is the real me.’ If you reflect on this preposition for some time you will see how absurd it is. If what you really are only exists when the mind is present, you have to accept that you didn’t exist while you were asleep. No one will accept such an absurd conclusion. If you analyse your alternating states you will discover that it is your direct experience that you exist whether you are awake or asleep. You will also discover that the mind only becomes active while you are waking and that the mind is something that comes and goes. Your existence is not wiped out each time the mind ceases to function.

I am not telling you some abstruse philosophical theory. I am telling you something that you can validate by direct experience in any twenty-four hour period of your life.

Take these facts, which you can discover by directly experiencing them, and investigate them a little more. When the mind appears every morning, don’t jump to the usual conclusion, ‘This is me. These thoughts are mine.’ Instead, watch these thoughts come and go without identifying with them in any way.

If you can resist the impulse to claim each and every thought as your own, you will come to a startling conclusion: you will discover that you are the consciousness in which the thoughts appear and disappear.

You will discover that this thing called ‘mind’ only exists when thoughts are allowed to run free. Like the snake which appears in the rope, you will discover that the mind is only an illusion which appears through ignorance or misperception.

You want some experience that will convince you that what I am saying is true. You can have that experience if you give up your life-long habit of inventing an ‘I’ which claims all thoughts as ‘mine’.

Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.

Clouds come and go in the sky, but the appearance and disappearance of the clouds don’t affect the sky. Your real nature is like the sky, like space. Just remain like the sky and let thought-clouds come and go. If you cultivate this attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will detach yourself from it.

—Sri Annamalai Swami


consider rivers


Evolution is no linear family tree, but change in the single multidimensional being that has grown to cover the entire surface of Earth.

from What is Life

. . .

Thought has altitude. Thought has velocity. Thought has acceleration. Thought has dimension. Thought has edges and vertices. Thought has a radius and a circumference. Thought dances in front of a thoughtless mirror.

—Ahmed Salman

. . .

In the end
It will not matter
That I was a woman. I am sure of it.
The body is a source. Nothing more.
There is a time for it. There is a certainty
About the way it seeks its own dissolution.
Consider rivers.
They are always en route to
Their own nothingness. From the first moment
They are going home. And so
When language cannot do it for us,
Cannot make us know love will not diminish us,
There are these phrases
Of the ocean
To console us.
Particular and unafraid of their completion.
In the end
Everything that burdened and distinguished me
Will be lost in this:
I was a voice.

—Eavan Boland
from Anna Liffey

Odilon Redon

Sunday, November 22, 2020



The mind & body are not separate entities. The gross form of the mind is the body & the subtle form of the body is the mind. The practice of asana integrates & harmonizes the two. 
Both the body & the mind harbor tensions or knots. Every mental knot has a corresponding physical, muscular knot & vice versa. The aim of asana is to release these knots. 
Asana release mental tensions by dealing with them on the physical level, acting somato-psychically, through the body to the mind.
―Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Asana Pranayama Mudra Banda

. . .

As you follow the "I" to the heart, you're going through the molecules and atoms, and the sub-atomic particles, going deeper, and deeper, going back, back to your source, to the energy waves, the void, and finally your whole body is totally dissolved and consciousness stands alone.

—Robert Adams


be(ing not itself


Consciousness is consciousness of something. 
This means that transcendence is the constitutive structure of consciousness; that is, that consciousness emerges supported by a being which is not itself.
—Jean-Paul Sartre




You know you are. How do you know it? And with what did you know it? This is the sum total of my teaching needed to put you on the right track, its very quintessence.

. . . 

Come to the conclusion: I am unborn, I was unborn and I shall remain unborn.

. . . 

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.
That is all.

—Nisargadatta Maharaj


Saturday, November 21, 2020

the numinous radiance of sentient things


Within heaven and earth, inside all the cosmos, there is contained a singular treasure concealed in the form-mountain—the numinous radiance of sentient things. 
Utterly empty, still, and difficult to perceive within or without, it is styled the “mystery of mysteries.” Its skill reaches out beyond the [celestial palace] of Purple Subtlety, and its function resides in the very midst of empty non-being. 
Unmoving among manifold transformations, it is solitary, not two. Its voice brings forth wondrous reverberations; its form spews forth iridescent displays. But look as you will, it has no locus; it is known to us as the emptiness of emptiness.

僧肇 –Sengzhao, Pao-tsang lun
(Treasure Store Treatise)


everything is sentient


 All things feel.



I revere [trees] when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. […] A tree says: The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

—Herman Hesse
Notes and Sketches


Respect the mind that stirs in every creature: love is a mystery known by metals too; every flower opens its soul to Nature; everything is sentient, and works on you.

Beware! From the blind wall one watches you: even matter has a logos all its own . . . do not put it to some impious use. Often in humble life a god works, hidden; and like a new-born eye veiled by its lids, pure spirit grows beneath the surface of stones.

—Gerard de Nerval
1808 –1855


Friday, November 20, 2020

Song of Zazen. excerpts



All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.

How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst,
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.

Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the Six Worlds,
From dark path to dark path–
When shall we be freed from birth and death?

... those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.

Here effect and cause are the same,
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray,
With thought that is no-thought,
Singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.

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.



keep open the door of the heart



There is a profound ground of unity that is more pertinent and authentic than all the unilateral dimensions of our lives. This a man discovers when he is able to keep open the door of his heart. This is one’s ultimate responsibility, and it is not dependent upon whether the heart of another is kept open for him. 
Here is a mystery: If sweeping through the door of my heart there moves continually a genuine love for you, it by-passes all your hate and all your indifference and gets through to you at your center. You are powerless to do anything about it. You may keep alive in devious ways the fires of your bitter heart, but they cannot get through to me. 
Underneath the surface of all the tension, something else is at work. It is utterly impossible for you to keep another from loving you.

Howard Thurman

. . .


There isn’t time - so brief is life - for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving - and but an instant, so to speak, for that.
—Mark Twain,
in a letter to Clara Spaulding,
20 August 1886

written in starlight


Verse 1

These mist covered mountains
Are a home for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Verse 2

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms


There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Verse 3

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve. —JA Wheeler


... consciousness is a coherent whole, which is never static or complete, but which is in an unending process of movement and unfoldment.

—David Bohm

. . .

The tangible world is movement, say the Masters, not a collection of moving objects, but movement itself. There are no objects "in movements", it is the movement which constitutes the objects which appear to us: they are nothing but movement.

... (What is observed) is not a homogeneous and motionless block. It is a "universe" formed by a large number of particles in movement.

... In every case (the sense of sight and its object) is a question of the meeting of two aggregates in motion, and also, in every case, it is a matter of a sensation followed by an interpretation which brings it into the realm of consciousness while distorting it.

—Alexandra David-Néel
The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects


all things are involved in all things

all motion is curved, and all curvature is spiral