Mar 09 2016

flow of small events

It is only when we deeply engage
with the gentle flow of small events
that we come to know our lives.

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Mar 02 2016

Wang Wei – Cooling Off

Published by under Poetry

Cooling Off
by Wang Wei

English version by Willis Barnstone

Clear waters drift through the immensity of a tall forest.
In front of me a huge river mouth
receives the long wind.
Deep ripples hold white sand
and white fish swimming as in a void.
I sprawl on a big rock,
billows nourishing my humble body.
I gargle with water and wash my feet.
A fisherman pauses out on the surf.
So many fish long for bait. I look
only to the east with its lotus leaves.

— from To Touch the Sky: Poems of Mystical, Spiritual & Metaphysical Light, Translated by Willis Barnstone


/ Image by mckaysavage /

One way to understand this poem is to read the “clear waters” as the mind when it is still and pure. The mind becomes free from the silt of projections, it becomes clear, empty, the “void” in which the fish swim.

The sand and the fish are white, hinting at the golden-white radiance often perceived in meditative ecstasy.

He “gargles” with water, suggesting the sense of drinking or swallowing a pure substance — the celestial drink. And he washes his feet, the foundation of awareness, in the purity of this “water.”

“So many fish long for bait.” The fish, here, are the remnants of darting thoughts. They long for “bait,” to be fed with constant attention, the busyness of the discursive mind. But the “fisherman,” the meditator, simply pauses, watching them without hooking them.

Wang Wei looks to the east, the direction of the rising sun and spiritual illumination, where the “lotus leaves” of the awakened consciousness open.


Recommended Books: Wang Wei

The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) To Touch the Sky: Poems of Mystical, Spiritual & Metaphysical Light Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry Three Chinese Poets: Translations of Poems by Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911


Wang Wei, Wang Wei poetry, Buddhist poetry Wang Wei

China (699? – 761) Timeline
Buddhist
Taoist

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Mar 02 2016

infinities

We contain universes and infinities

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Feb 29 2016

Mary Oliver – Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?

Published by under Poetry

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?
by Mary Oliver

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives —
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
      but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or two of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.

— from West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems, by Mary Oliver


/ Image by Torpe /

Somehow I thought this would be a good poem to honor Leap Day…

This poem speaks to us on so many levels, and it is telling us that the living world of nature does so as well.

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

Trees and fields, flowers and stones, they embody the outer world, yes, but they are also the doorway to the inner. The natural world is the doorway to ourselves.

Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

We’ve trained ourselves to glance and not see. But that is precisely the purpose of the human soul, to deeply witness. Anything less, anything too busy to see, becomes mere existence.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window…

And that leaves us terribly bereft, living in a world devoid of depth, alienated from our own purpose and true selves…

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

The solution is to slow, to stop, to look, and finally to see. Seeing, we connect — with each other, and with the earth, the earth and her multiform mystery.

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

The process of being an individual trying to find a place in the human world can be exhausting, but we can never forget that we must first find a place in the community of life upon the earth. The human endeavor, rich and tragic and wonderful, loses its meaning — and its ability to continue — when separated from its larger family of living beings and its mysterious mother, the living earth.

I ramble my way home.


Recommended Books: Mary Oliver

Why I Wake Early New and Selected Poems House of Light American Primitive What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems
More Books >>


Mary Oliver, Mary Oliver poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Mary Oliver

US (1935 – )
Secular or Eclectic

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Feb 29 2016

our inherent joy

We punish ourselves
by keeping our inherent joy
at bay.

No responses yet

Feb 26 2016

Abhishiktananda – Arunachala is a symbol

Published by under Poetry

Arunachala is a symbol
by Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)

Arunachala is a symbol
and Arunachala is a Reality,
a high-place of the Dravidian land,
all ruddy, aruna, in the rays of the rising sun,
where is worshipped the linga of fire,
the elemental sign of the Living God,
he who appeared to Moses in the burning bush
and on the summit of Mount Horeb,
Fire that burns and Fire that gives light,
Deus Ignis consumens
Lux mundi
Paramjyoti
Phos hilaron

the joyful light of the immortal glory
of the Blessed One,
Bhagavan!

For there at the dawn of time was standing
the column of fire
of which Brahma could not reach the summit
nor could Vishnu find its foot,
symbol as it was of unfathomable Love–
Anbe Shivam
which is the very ground of Being.

Later it took the form of a sapphire;
and then, in the evil times of our kaliyuga,
the Linga of fire became stone
for the blessing of mankind,
the sacred Mountain,
achala,
which the Lord set firmly on its foundation
and which is never shaken.

To its caves, age after age, there has come a succession
of those who are hungry for wisdom and renunciation,
whom the Mountain, the divine Magnet,
draws to its bosom,
to teach them in its own silence
the royal path of the supreme Silence,
and how to be established in the Self–
achala, atmanishtha.

From its sides there flow springs
sublimely named–
“The spring of the milk of grace”
“Milk from the breast of the divine Mother”–
where pilgrims come
to bathe and drink.

And finally, from its crest on the great day of Thibam,
when the Sun sinks in the west,
and the full moon of Karttiki
rises above the horizon,
there shoots up the Column of Fire,
which reveals the secret of Light.
hidden in the heart of the Mountain!

*

From the very Depth of Arunachala’s Heart
there sounds a call
to him who speeds towards the Depth
of the Heart of Arunachala;
but he who enters into the Depth
of the Heart of Arunachala,
has lost even his own name
and all that till then he was;
so that henceforth he is only the dweller in the Depth,
the one who lives within the Cave
of the Heart of Arunachala;
he has entered his own Depth,
has been swallowed up in the Self,
having discovered at the deepest centre of himself
the secret of Arunachala.

But for him who at last reaches the Depth
of the Heart of Arunachala,
does there still remain a Depth?
Is there still an Arunachala?
What has become of the Mountain,
rosy-coloured Arunachala?
Where now are the springs
on the sides of Arunachala?
What has happened to the Light,
on the crest of Arunachala?

The caves themselves have vanished,
and with them the hermits of Arunachala;
has not he himself also disappeared,
swallowed up in the Depth
of the Heart of Arunachala,
merged in the Self,
the Unique Arunachala?

— from The Secret of Arunachala: A Christian Hermit on Shiva’s Holy Mountain, by Swami Abhishiktananda


/ Image by prem /

Arunachala is a symbol
and Arunachala is a Reality…

Arunachala is a sacred mountain in the Tamil regions of southern India. It is said to be an embodiment of the god Shiva, and has attracted the spiritually minded for centuries. It is the site of an ancient temple and several ashrams.

It is said that a dispute once arose between the three gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva over who was greater. Lord Shiva, to prove is endlessness, manifested as an immense column or Lingam of light, and the other gods were unable see his beginning or end.

For there at the dawn of time was standing
the column of fire
of which Brahma could not reach the summit
nor could Vishnu find its foot…

As the ages passed and the materialistic Kali Yuga came, Shiva’s column of light took on the material form of a mountain — Arunachala — so spiritual seekers caught up in the increasingly materialistic world would still be able to witness divinity.

the Linga of fire became stone
for the blessing of mankind,
the sacred Mountain…

In this way, spiritual seekers understand Arunachala to be both a symbol of God and also an embodiment of the Ultimate Reality.

In recent times Arunachala has become especially associated with the greatly revered nondualist sage Ramana Maharshi, who took up residence at the holy site at the end of the 19th century until his death in 1950.

From the very Depth of Arunachala’s Heart
there sounds a call…

This poem uses so many Sanskrit and Latin phrases, that you may have to approach it like a puzzle, filling in the pieces using the following notes. It may require a bit of extra work, but it’s worth it. Some beautiful and profound concepts are being suggested with these words…

aruna — “Reddish brown” or “ruddy.” This can be used as a reference to the sun god Surya.

achala — “Immovable” or “mountain”

The name Arunachala can be understood to suggest that the mountain is the light of the sun standing still — Lord Shiva’s column of light.

As a Catholic priest, Abhishiktananda naturally gives us a few elevating Latin phrases:

Deus Ignis consumens – “God the consuming Fire”

Lux mundi – “The Light of the world”

Phos hilaron – “The joyful Light”

And back to his adopted Hindu Sanskrit:

Paramjyoti – Jyoti means light and param means the ultimate or supreme, so paramjyoti means “the supreme Light”

Bhagavan – “Lord” A respectful title used for divine figures and spiritual masters, often bestowed on Ramana Maharshi, the sage most associated with Arunachala.

Anbe Shivam – “Shiva is Love” or “God is Love”

atmanishtha – The atma is the true Self, the divine Self realized in enlightenment. Nishtha implies fullness, faith, steadiness. So atmanishtha means to be “established or abiding in the divine Self.”

Karttiki & Thibam – Karttiki or Kartikai is the month between mid-November and mid-December. Thibam (more commonly written today as Deepam) is a Hindu Tamil Festival of Lights that occurs in the month of Kartikai. He is describing a specific full moon night of the year during a holy celebration of lights when Arunachala itself is seen as a living embodiment of “the secret light.”

When we follow Abhishiktananda’s trail around the mountain of immortal light with its secret springs and sacred depths, along with him we discover a unity beyond self and beyond place.

he has entered his own Depth,
has been swallowed up in the Self,
having discovered at the deepest centre of himself
the secret of Arunachala.


Recommended Books: Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)

Guru and Disciple: An Encounter with Sri Gnanananda, a Contemporary Spiritual Master The Secret of Arunachala: A Christian Hermit on Shiva’s Holy Mountain The Further Shore Swami Abhishiktananda: Essential Writings Prayer
More Books >>


Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux), Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux) poetry, Christian poetry Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)

France, India (1910 – 1973) Timeline
Christian : Catholic
Yoga / Hindu : Advaita / Non-Dualist

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Feb 26 2016

in the moment

Find the magic
in the moment.

One response so far

Feb 24 2016

Yoka Genkaku – The hungry are served a king’s repast

Published by under Poetry

The hungry are served a king’s repast (from The Shodoka)
by Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

English version by Robert Aitken

The hungry are served a king’s repast,
And they cannot eat.
The sick meet the king of doctors;
Why don’t they recover?
The practice of Zen in this greedy world —
This is the power of wise vision.
The lotus lives in the midst of the fire;
It is never destroyed.


/ Image by ursrules1 /

I am back. I appreciate you patience with me. Another challenging period with chronic fatigue. Each time I learn a few new steps in the dance…

I have passed over this verse from The Shodoka before without paying much attention, but reading it this morning it struck me as powerful for the first time. The words aren’t especially poetic, but it unlocks many thoughts as I read it.

The hungry are served a king’s repast,
And they cannot eat.
The sick meet the king of doctors;
Why don’t they recover?

I take the king here to refer to the Buddha. The “king’s repast” would be the teachings of the Buddha. The medicine offered by the “king of doctors” would be the relief from suffering as one walks the path of wisdom.

These gifts are available to all, yet most of humanity seems unwilling partake and unable to even recognize that it is what we all hunger for amidst our confusion and suffering. Sadly, this blindness to our basic need is the common state “in this greedy world.”

But, regardless of how few actively walk the path, regardless of how lost and chaotic the world may seem, the way of truth remains:

The lotus lives in the midst of the fire;
It is never destroyed.

But also, reading this verse, do you by any chance think of the story of King Midas? The king’s repast that cannot be eaten and the mention of a greedy world… Ever since childhood, I have been fascinated with the Greek myths, and it seems to me that most people don’t quite recognize the message of the Midas myth. It depends on how much of the story one knows and how deeply it has been contemplated.

Many just know the phrase that someone “has the Midas touch,” that is, everything they touch turns to gold. If that’s all one knows, then the Midas touch is imagined to be a good thing. Look at the businesses that foolishly incorporate Midas into their business name. The notion that turning everything into gold is a good thing is precisely the opposite meaning of the myth. It is the very delusion that King Midas himself suffered from.

For those who know a little more of the story, they see it as a comical tale about the problems of greed. That is closer to the truth, but it still misses the world-threatening horror of uncontrolled greed suggested by this powerful Greek myth.

A quick recap of the tale: Midas was a foolish, small-minded king who was granted a wish by one of the gods. He requested the boon that whatever he touched be turned to gold — which he immediately received. Thrilled with this new power, he raced back to his palace, touching trees and animals and everything as he went, turning all to gold. Arriving at his palace, he was famished, so he had food brought to him. But as soon as he put the food in his mouth, it turned to gold and became inedible. In desperation, he grabbed a flagon of wine to drink from it, but he nearly choked when it too immediately turned to gold. In his horror, he cried out, which brought his daughter running to him. Frightened by his demeanor, she ran into his arms… and, yes, was turned to gold. The gods, in order to prevent the entire world being turned into gold — which would be its destruction — eventually intervened and removed the power from King Midas’s touch, but leaving him a broken man.

If we think about the implications of this story, especially in this modern era of hypercapitalism, it illustrates the terrible world created by commodifying everything and everyone. When people and things are only seen in terms of their quantifiable economic value, we end up turning living beings and the planet itself into dead wealth. When an entire society is built on the King Midas model, the only question is, will Midas starve to death before he destroys the entire world?

When we are enthralled by the perspective of the “greedy world” we measure all of life’s pathways and experiences using a crippled calculus. Spiritual truths, deep meaning, inherent dignity– there is no column on our ledger for these things, and so they become unreal to us, valueless, invisible. In the greedy world’s cost-benefit analysis, we become unable to eat the king’s repast or receive the medicine from the king of doctors. People end up starving, not from lack of food, but because the food, which is widely available, remains unseen.

What then is the solution? On the personal, most human level, we remember how to see what is commonly overlooked. We remember to feel what the inner heart tells us is worth feeling. And we learn to measure real value against the measure and aspiration of the human spirit. In this way, slowly, steadily, we recover the full vision of ourselves and the world as an interwoven living panorama rich with endless shadings and illuminations of meaning and value.

The practice of Zen in this greedy world —
This is the power of wise vision.


Recommended Books: Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

Buddhism and Zen


Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

China (665 – 713) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan
Taoist

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Feb 24 2016

spend a lifetime

We can spend a lifetime
looking, traveling, and acquiring.
Or we can look in the mirror.

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Feb 12 2016

Rasakhan – Nectar Radha

Published by under Poetry

Nectar Radha
by Rasakhan

English version by Shyamdas

When Radha’s eyes bashfully meet Hari’s,
      their delightful gestures
            entice His heart.

Her enchanting banter swindles His mind.
      Her words divulge an exquisite disposition.

She puts Her lips to His,
      filling that Abode of elixir
            with the nectar of Her very soul.

Although Krishna is an expert in all of love’s spells,
      Radha captivates God
            with a few soft syllables.

— from Treasure House of Love: Poems of Rasakhan, Translated by Shyamdas


/ Image by Vishnu108 /

How about some bhakti verses in honor of Valentine’s Day?

As with many bhakti poems, this is, on the surface, a poem of lovers, Radha and Krishna (also referred to as Hari). But these, like the Song of Songs in the Bible, are usually understood to reflect deeper spiritual truths. Radha is the soul, the spiritual seeker. Krishna is the one the soul seeks, the eternal Beloved, God. Radha’s yearning and seeking is the spiritual journey. Their love play is spiritual union.

Most bhakti poems dwell on how Krishna’s enchanting beauty draws Radha (the soul) to him. God/Krishna is, after all, “an expert in all of love’s spells,” for all sincere seekers are in love with the Divine One. In truth, every soul, no matter how closed off, has a deep-seated hunger for something, and that yearning, whether recognized or not, is ultimately for the eternal Beloved. Every single being is caught up in Krisnha’s love spell.

But these lines by Rasakhan point out that there is a reciprocal attraction, as well. The soul doesn’t just reach out to the Divine. Turning eager eyes toward the Beloved magnetically draws the Divine to the individual soul, as well. When done with total sincerity and with one’s full, unedited being, a response from the Beloved becomes unavoidable.

In this way, “Radha captivates God / with a few soft syllables.” The soul and God draw each other, the two becoming enfolded within their mutual love.

Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day with your beloved / Beloved.


Recommended Books: Rasakhan

Treasure House of Love: Poems of Rasakhan


Rasakhan

India (1534? – 1619?) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Vaishnava (Krishna/Rama)
Muslim / Sufi

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Feb 12 2016

all the way

Enlightenment all the way to enlightenment.

No responses yet

Feb 10 2016

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi – Fasting

Published by under Poetry

Fasting
by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Don’t give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

— from The Illuminated Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks / Michael Green


/ Image by bennylin0724 /

I featured this poem and commentary a few years ago, but I thought it would be appropriate to send it out again today since it is Ash Wednesday — a Muslim poem on fasting in solidarity with all of my Christian friends beginning Lent.

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.

Fasting is something we’re not too comfortable with in the affluent West. Even though all religious traditions, including Christianity and Judaism, have rich, ancient traditions of fasting, we often don’t have a real sense of what spirituality has to do with food — or its avoidance. We tend to take a rather intellectual approach to spirituality. Even in modern New Age teachings, we have the notion that all we have to do is change our thinking and transformation occurs. But the results of that approach are often spotty. One reason is that mind is much more than thoughts, and transforming the mind requires deeper work. Thoughts are built on ingrained energetic patterns. For real transformation to occur, we have to get down to those foundational patterns. Very often this requires not merely changing one’s thoughts, but tunneling beneath them. This is the purpose of deeper spiritual practice.

Fasting is a simple, universal, and powerful way to clear the mind and confront those more fundamental energies in the awareness.

But why? What does food have to do with any of this? We are not two things, a mind separate from a body, or even a mind that inhabits a body. The mind and body interpenetrate one another. If your body is injured, that physical pain demands attention, affecting the awareness. The state of the body impacts the clarity and focus of the mind. Feeding the body pure, healthy foods in general, and periodically allowing it to rest from the tiring work of digestion can profoundly free up energies for the awareness to tap into.

Here’s something else you won’t hear much: Food is a drug. Every food is a narcotic. Does that sound bizarre to you? I don’t mean that normal foods are literally hallucinogenic. But every single thing you put into your mouth affects consciousness in some way. We use food to control emotions. We use food to shift moods and change awareness. Think of the instinct to grab a pint of ice cream from the freezer after a terrible breakup. Everything, even a salad, affects consciousness in some way. The resulting psychic shift after eating something can be relatively positive or relatively negative. It can help us to feel solid and grounded or expanded and open. It can tantalize the senses and flood us with feelings of satiation or leave us frustrated. None of this is necessarily bad, but we must understand how profoundly food affects awareness, and utilize food wisely… and sometimes not consume food at all.

A fascinating thing happens when you fast as part of a spiritual practice: After you ease past the initial psychic tension and your body moves through any initial discomforts — the mind naturally settles and grows quiet. So much of the agitation of the mind arises from the foods we eat.

Recognizing this, food and fasting become an important part of spiritual practice.

The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.

The first few times I tried to do just a one day fast, I was frankly terrified. I knew intellectually that a healthy human body can go for days without food, no problem. Many times in the past I had forgotten to eat breakfast, and it was no big deal, but on a day when I intentionally decided to fast, I’d be sweating and panicky by mid-morning. It took me a while to understand that fasting, even a mild fast, is a confrontation with death. It is the willingness to temporarily abandon that constant hunt to satisfy every desire by attempting to slough off the fundamental hunger for food. How do you just have a desire and sit with it, without attempting to immediately satisfy it? That’s a pretty frightening question, when you really ask it.

With a little practice, you discover that what we often assume is physical hunger is actually mental hunger. For well-fed Westerners, it can take days, literally days, for true physical hunger to arise. The hunger we feel when we miss a couple of meals is really just mental habit, the reflexive desire to use food in order to regulate consciousness and control emotion. Follow that reflex to its root, and we find it originating from the ever-fearful ego, which is endlessly attempting to reinforce its fragile construction of a limited self inside a limited world by keeping the mind perpetually agitated.

Fasting, used carefully, with balance, and as part of a larger spiritual practice, becomes a way to help identify and unseat the despotic ego.

This is why fasting is practiced in all religions. And you don’t even have to have a religious “faith.” Just try it sometime, for a day, for half a day, wrestle your way through, and see what happens in you.

Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.


Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Open Secret: Versions of Rumi
More Books >>


Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Afghanistan & Turkey (Persia) (1207 – 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Continue Reading »

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Feb 10 2016

political

Spiritual awakening
is the fundamental political act.
Awareness spreads outward
into the world.

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Feb 05 2016

A. R. Ammons – Poetics

Published by under Poetry

Poetics
by A. R. Ammons

I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center,
the shape
things will take to come forth in

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind-glittering
totally its apparent self:

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
unfold:

not the shape on paper — though
that, too — but the
uninterfering means on paper:

not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself
through me
from the self not mine but ours.

— from Collected Poems: 1951 – 1971, by A. R. Ammons


/ Image by Randy Son Of Robert /

I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center…

This poem is a delightful meditation on how form emerges “spiraling from a center” of essential nature.

I look for the forms
things want to come as

from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
unfold:

Form is the expression of a more subtle foundation. Ammons is using the world of color and shape as an exercise for the awareness, a way of looking at the outer to discover the inner.

Looking at the world this way, a stillness settles on us, and we begin to see the stillness of things, even in their movement. And we start to recognize how shape and color both hide and reveal the true nature of things.

so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
wind-glittering
totally its apparent self:

Looking at the world this way, the perceptual wall between ourselves and what we witness fades away, and we become something new, bigger, open, a collective unity, “the self not mine but ours”…

not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself
through me
from the self not mine but ours.

Wonderful!


Recommended Books: A. R. Ammons

Collected Poems: 1951 – 1971 Brink Road: Poems Selected Poems A Coast of Trees: Poems by A R Ammons Uplands: New Poems by A R Ammons
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A. R. Ammons, A. R. Ammons poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry A. R. Ammons

US (1926 – 2001) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

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Feb 05 2016

inner glow

Meditation, prayer, quiet —

These train your eyes to see
by the inner glow.

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Feb 03 2016

Jacopone da Todi – Love, where did You enter the heart unseen?

Published by under Poetry

Love, where did You enter the heart unseen? (from In Praise of Divine Love)
by Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

English version by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes

Love, where did You enter the heart unseen?
Lovable Love, joyful Love, unthinkable Love,
In Your plenitude You lie far beyond the reach of reason.

Love, jocund and joyous,
Divine fire, You do not stint
Of your endlessly beautiful riches.

— from Jacopone da Todi: Lauds (Classics of Western Spirituality), Translated by Serge and Elizabeth Hughes


/ Image by eggybird /

In these lines, the word “Love” almost becomes a chant: “Lovable Love, joyful Love, unthinkable Love…” The phrases invite repetition, circling round and round in the awareness until they lead to the very subject which they praise.

And what a delightful phrase: — “Love, jocund and joyous.” Those words roll around on the tongue like melting chocolate.

There are several key phrases here that particularly grab my attention:

Love, where did You enter the heart unseen?

In states of deep spiritual communion, when the agitations of the mind are at rest and the attention is not seeking outward distractions, all awareness settles into the heart, touching everything without the need to reach out to do so. It is an experience of expansiveness without movement, of absolute contentment and interconnection… and an experience of all-encompassing love.

What is often surprising is the recognition that this inner heart, this spiritual heart has always been at rest in this profound state of love, even though we somehow have spent years not recognizing it. It is as if a thief has stolen unseen into the heart, but riches are given rather than taken. Treasures are suddenly scattered everywhere through the heart — even far into the forgotten past.

Love, jocund and joyous…

A giddy joy comes upon us in the ecstatic state, felt especially as a spreading warmth upon the heart. This is greater and, at the same time subtler, than what is normally called happiness. Happiness is sharp-edged and fleeting, but this joy is filled with peace and completely independent of external circumstances. This quiet bliss is steady and radiant.

Divine fire, You do not stint…

In deep spiritual ecstasy, there is often a sense of heat — filled with immense love — that permeates the body. This is such a wonderful fire that mystics often describe it as the flame of love.

This love is not some philosophical notion, it’s not some passing emotion, it is simply, inexplicably there, quietly glowing within each heart, waiting to be discovered.

Lovable Love, joyful Love, unthinkable Love…


PS- Do you want in on a secret? I have quietly begun work on a new Poetry Chaikhana anthology. I hope to have it ready for you this summer.

Actually, I am also thinking of putting together a small book of the ‘Thought for the Day’ sayings, as well. What do you think? Will that make a good book?


Recommended Books: Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Jacopone da Todi: Lauds (Classics of Western Spirituality) All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time


Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti), Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti) poetry, Christian poetry Jacopone da Todi (Jacopone Benedetti)

Italy (1230 – 1306) Timeline
Christian : Catholic

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Feb 03 2016

mystic’s awareness

The mystic’s awareness
does not sift reality,
it bathes in it.

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