Wednesday, November 7, 2018

deciding



One mine the Indians worked had
gold so good they left it there
for God to keep.

At night sometimes you think
your way that far, that deep,
or almost.

You hold all things or not, depending
not on greed but whether they suit what
life begins to mean.

Like those workers you study what
moves,
what stays.  You bow, and then, like them,
you know -

What's God, what's world, what's gold. 





William Stafford
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Sunday, October 7, 2018

entering fully


Life is a boundless matrix of dynamic relationships. 
Ultimately, every action reverberates throughout the universe. 
I responding to you. 
You responding to me. 
This responding to that. 
That responding to this.

Responsiveness is the living heart of being and becoming. 
Atoms, molecules, organs and organisms, families and societies; 
entire ecosystems, biospheres, planets and galaxies; 
all shifting, responding, constantly changing.
Each birthing of this is a dying of that.
Each dying of that is a birthing of this. 
Responsive change is the very nature and fabric of what is.
Permanence is a mental abstraction; a hope, a need, 
a convenient but potentially deadening freezing 
of the actual creative dynamic of all our lives in action.

Suffering arises through trying to fix or make permanent 
what is essentially a seamless fluid process.

May we cease grasping at permanence and
with heartful confidence, love, enthusiasm and wide awake sensitivity, 
enter fully the great birthing/dying matrix of responsive relating;
this ineffable, un-pin-down-able, present blessing of now.







With thanks: Tarchin Hearn
Green Dharma Treasury
Photo: Peter Bowers







Thursday, October 4, 2018

lightly my darling

It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.






Aldous Huxley
Island
Photo:  Peter Bowers









Monday, August 20, 2018

Miracle Fair



Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
 a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backward and left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.
Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.





Wislawa Szymborska
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Tuesday, August 14, 2018

innocence



My gaze is clear as a sunflower.
My way is to walk the roads
Looking right and left
And sometimes looking behind me...
What I see at each moment
Is that which I never
Caught sight of before.

I have the knack of full awareness
The knack of essential astonishment
That an infant might experience
If at birth he were aware
That he was actually born!
I feel myself born at each moment
Into the everlasting newness
of the world.

I believe in the world
As I believe in a daisy
Because I see it.
But I do not think about it
Because to think is to not-understand.
The world was not made
For us to think about it
(To think is to have sick vision)
But for us to look at it and assent.

I have no philosophy: I have senses ...
If I talk of nature, that is not because
I know what nature is
But because I love it, and love is for this only:
For he who loves never knows what he loves
Or why he loves, or what love is.

Loving is eternal innocence
And the only innocence is not-thinking.





Fernando Pessoa
from The Keeper of the Flocks
translated by Thomas Merton







Thursday, August 2, 2018

Unmarked Boxes (excerpt)



God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from ground. 
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish, 
now a cliff covered with vines, 
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these, 
till one day it cracks them open.





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Monday, July 9, 2018

Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond










As for life,
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,
and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched
though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen -
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort -
along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.

As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?





Mary Oliver
Photo: Peter Bowers











Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Messenger




My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird  —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still  and learning to be
 astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.








Mary Oliver
Photos:  Peter Bowers







Sunday, June 10, 2018

letters from God























I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his
                            own funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of
                            the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds
                            the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man
                            following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the
                            wheel’d universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and
                            composed before a million universes.


And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about
                            God and about death.)


I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not
                            in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than
                            myself.


Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and
                            each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own
                            face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is
                            sign’d by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er
                            I go
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.






Walt Whitman
Song of Myself, 48
photo:  Peter Bowers








Monday, June 4, 2018

Laughter



What is laughter? What is laughter?
It is God waking up!  O it is God waking up! 
It is the sun poking its sweet head out
From behind a cloud
You have been carrying too long,
Veiling your eyes and heart

It is Light breaking ground for a great Structure
That is your Real body - called Truth.

It is happiness applauding itself and then taking flight
To embrace everyone and everything in this world.

Laughter is the polestar
Held in the sky by our Beloved,
Who eternally says,

"Yes, dear ones, come this way,
Come this way toward Me and Love!

Come with your tender mouths moving
And your beautiful tongues conducting songs
And with your movements - your magic movements
Of hands and feet and glands and cells - Dancing! 


Know that to God's Eye, 
All movement is a Wondrous Language,
And Music - such exquisite, wild Music!"

O what is laughter, Hafiz?
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?

It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up! 





Hafiz
I Heard God Laughing 
Daniel Ladinsky
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Saturday, May 5, 2018

thus spake the heart-whisperer





Dear One –

– you will never be more at home
than in the ceaseless energy
of your body’s wild word

– you will never know purer peace
than in your blessed breathtide

– you will never find more happiness
than in this miracle-moment

– you will never find truer love
than in your own forgiving embrace

– you will never be more creative
than when you disappear

– you will never know life’s purpose
outside of simply living it

– you will never be more free
than before you contemplated freedom

– you will never be more awake
than within the quiet murmur
of your soft, animal, secret senses

– you will never find your self
apart from your changeless
inescapable
light of being






miriam louisa





Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Climate of My Prayer


Our mentioning of the weather - our perfunctory observations on what kind of day it is - are perhaps not idle.  Perhaps we have a deep and legitimate need to know in our entire being what the day is like, to see it and feel it, to know how the sky is grey, paler in the south, with patches of blue in the southwest, with snow on the ground, the thermometer at 18, and cold wind making your ears ache.  I have a real need to know these things because I myself am part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place, and a day in which I have not shared truly in all this is no day at all.  It is certainly part of my life of prayer.




Thomas Merton
A Year With Thomas Merton
Daily Meditations from His Journals






Tuesday, February 20, 2018

honesty


is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.






David Whyte
Consolations
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
Photo:  Peter Bowers