"Concentration" — Author Unknown

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After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.
'There,' he said to the old man, 'see if you can match that!'

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log.

Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. 'Now it is your turn,' he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. 'You have much skill with your bow,' the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, 'but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.'

—Author Unknown


“No Snowflake ever falls in the wrong place”


“No Snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.”
—Zen Proverb

"Putting It All Together" from The Sage's Tao Te Ching — William Martin

—-Head Study of an Elderly Bearded Man Mauro Gandolfi

Many in our culture
regard youth as good
and old age as bad.
But is this true?  

In the sage, youth and age are married.
Wisdom and folly have each been lived fully.
Innocence and experience now support one another.
Action and rest follow each other easily.
Life and death have become inseparable.

The sage has experienced all opposites
and lets them come and go
without clinging or fretting.
Therefore the sage can talk without lecturing,
act without worrying about results,
and live in contentment with all events.

The first part of our life
was spent separating things into categories:
good and bad,
like and dislike,
me and you,
us and them.
Now it is time to put all the pieces back together
into a seamless whole.

The Sage's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life


"The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng"


One day the Fifth Patriarch told his monks to express their wisdom in a poem. Whoever had true realization of his original nature (Buddha Nature) would be ordained the Sixth Patriarch. The head monk, Shen Hsiu, was the most learned, and wrote the following:
The body is the wisdom-tree,

The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.

The poem was praised, but The Fifth Patriarch knew that Shen Hsiu had not yet found his original nature, on the other hand, Hui Neng couldn't even write, so someone had to write down his poem, which read:

Fundamentally no wisdom-tree exists,
Nor the stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is empty from the beginning,
Where can the dust alight?

"The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings" - John Philip Newell

“Too often in the past our approach to truth has been to assume that we have it and others do not. Consequently, we have thought that our role is to tell people what to believe. We are being invited instead into a new humility, to serve the holy wisdom that is already stirring in the hearts of people everywhere, the growing awareness of earth’s interrelatedness and sacredness.” 

John Philip Newell, The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

"The Compass of Compassion" by John Phillip Newell


"Notice the similarity between the word compass and the word compassion. They share an etymological root. The earliest use of the word compass does not, of course, refer to the modern hiking compass as we know it. The word is first used to refer to the mathematical compass, that simple two-pronged device that many of us remember using in grade school to measure the distance between two points and to draw arcs and circles. A compass, then, is used to determine the relationship between two points. The related word compassion is about honoring the relationship between two people or between one group and another, and remembering those who suffer. It is about making the connection between the heart of my being and the heart of yours, and following that connection . . . even when we are filled with doubts as to whether we are moving in the right direction."

The Rebirthing of God: Christianity's Struggle for New Beginnings

"The Essence of a Life" by Aeterna Lumen

”Traveler” by Sasha Pepper

A child
Kicked, battered and bruised
Innocence stolen far too early
Are some paths truly destined for this?

Strong, beautiful lights
Fiercely attacked from every side
Tormentors seek to squelch and trample,
stamping and blowing at the flames
And yet they shine… they shine
Brighter and more brilliant
than the untouched

Searching lights
Continue to learn and yearn for inner strength
Looking for answers amidst the chaos and debris
Reasons for the annihilation of their innocence
Often finding peace and healing as they study the universe
and the purpose for the creation of their spirits

Weaker softer lights
succumb to the pain
Retreating and hiding in fear
Protecting themselves from being hurt again
Feeling nothing
Unable to give or receive love
Lifeless, useless earth walkers
who would join the tormentors
Rather than heal
and live a meaningful life

Abusers are everywhere
Scarring and torturing innocent souls
But they, too, could find their place to shine
If they could release their own pain
and open their minds

And the universe rolls on
Embracing all our human frailties
Encouraging us to become wakeful and aware
of the light that shines in all of us

It is your life...
Taste every second of it, feel every breath
Appreciate and accept every kindness and care given to you
We must keep our inner energy as charged as possible
and feel peace in the strength that we carry

There are no gods to blame, no rhyme or reason
Our hearts and our minds can overcome
Teaching others as well as ourselves
That there is goodness and purity in this world

The essence of a life
is to experience all that we are given
To stay strong, keep fighting, and embrace
every aspect of our experience

The essence of a life
is to live a true life
To see the open door
and have the courage to walk through it

The essence of a life
is to awaken to the light
To embrace and encourage all light
To fully realize what we are intended to be
Every stage of life allows us to learn
As long as we grab it and live it with passion and dignity

© 2012 Aeterna Lumen - All Rights Reserved


“Children" — Kahlil Gibran


And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

“The Prophet” - Kahlil Gibran

“Family Tree” by H.K. Stewart

“Family Tree” by HK Stewart
OCD Tree by Seth McWhorter

“Family Tree”
--by HK Stewart

Every twig follows
its own path to the sun.
And yet, even branches
tell each other what to do.
This is how a tree is formed.

Communities grow this way, too.
We each want our share of the light,
but when we block the way for others,
we stunt the growth of all.

Christian Taoism Website


"Environment" from 365 Tao by Deng Ming Dao

Pasted Graphic
--Drawing by Stephan Wiltshires

How can you live
With the constant noise of traffic?
The stench of garbage?
The sight of buildings instead of mountains?
The movement of streets instead of rivers?
The feel of pavement instead of earth?

There are some metropolitan areas famous for their power, their
sophistication, their history, their place in civilization. These places
cannot be centers of spirituality too. You only need to look at them
with open eyes and heart. How can anything holy root there?

The noise of traffic is constant. At any time of the day or night,
that distracting roar, that underlying trembling disrupts the subtle.
The air is not clean but is filled with dust and soot. Especially when
the weather is hot, the smell of rotting garbage wafts up from the
foundations like the odor of leprosy. The earth is unable to breathe,
smothered beneath concrete, asphalt, steel, and junk.

Some people who live in these places become interested in
spirituality. They want to know if it is possible to reach high levels
in deeply urban environments. The answer is no. It is not possible to
become fully realized in an urban environment. For to gain realization
means the achievement of special psychophysical states. That requires
quiet cultivation and an acquaintance with the subtle. When the roar of the city is all there is, how can the song of the divine be heard?

365-tao meditations
365 Tao By Deng Ming Dao


“Gone From My Sight” — (A Parable on Immortality) by Henry Van Dyke

—-"Sail Away" by Karla Nolan

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
"There she goes!"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight . . . that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .

"Here she comes!"

"Muteness" — Deng Ming Dao (from 365 Tao Meditations)

Moving Stillness09
----Aikido Dance

The more you dwell in the spirit,
The farther you are from common ways.
If you want to speak of Tao's wonders,
Few will listen.

If you spend a long period of time in study and self-cultivation, you will enter Tao. By doing so, you also enter a world of extraordinary perceptions. You experience unimaginable things, receive thoughts and learning as if from nowhere, perceive things that could be classified as prescient. Yet if you try to communicate what you experience, there is no one to understand you, no one who will believe you. The more you walk this road, the farther you are from the ordinary ways of society. You may see the truth, but you will find that people would rather listen to politicians, performers, and charlatans.

If you are known as a follower of Tao, people may seek you out, but they are seldom the ones who will truly understand Tao. They are people who would exploit Tao as a crutch. To speak to them of the wonders you have seen is often to engage in a futile bout of miscommunication. That is why it is said that those who know do not speak.

Why not simply stay quiet? Enjoy Tao as you will. Let others think you are dumb. Inside yourself, you will know the joy of Tao's mysteries. If you met someone who can profit by your experience, you should share. But if you are merely a wanderer in a crowd of strangers, it is wisdom to be silent.

From 365 Tao - Daily Meditations


"The Buddha's Words on Kindness"


This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:

Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.

—The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)

“Haiku: Eastern Culture”, 1949, Volume One Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

"To nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our
falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature.  It is a way in
which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very
day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly
alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent
and expressive language.”

Haiku: Eastern Culture”, 1949, Volume One, p. 243. Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

"A Dream Girl" by Carl Sandburg

Painting by A Bit of Whimsy Art

You will come one day in a waver of love,
Tender as dew, impetuous as rain,
The tan of the sun will be on your skin,
The purr of the breeze in your murmuring speech,
You will pose with a hill-flower grace.

You will come, with your slim, expressive arms,
A poise of the head no sculptor has caught
And nuances spoken with shoulder and neck,
Your face in pass-and-repass of moods
As many as skies in delicate change
Of cloud and blue and flimmering sun.

You may not come, O girl of a dream,
We may but pass as the world goes by
And take from a look of eyes into eyes,
A film of hope and a memoried day.

"No Man Is an Island" by John Donne

Man Island
No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent, 
A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
As well as if a promontory were:
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were.

Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

"On Beauty" (excerpt from THE PROPHET) by Kahlil Gibran

Portrait of an Old Lake Captain, c.1906 by Tom Thomson


Where shall you seek beauty,
and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "Beauty is of soft whisperings.
She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs,
and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
"We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
"We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves,
and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark,
nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

"Love’s Language" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Holding Hands
How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye —
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn's swift force —
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek —
The sudden silence and reserve when near —
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear —
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmèd heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest—
Thus does love speak

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek—
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one belovèd face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble—
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss—
Thus doth Love speak



"A Good Conversation" by Keith Basar


A good conversation can be quite rare.
It's beauty is it's own nature — thoroughly organic.
It springs forth from the deepest soils of our being,
aiding us in peering intricately and panoramically into the secrets of self and the Unknown.

A good conversation, like a shimmering mountain stream, cannot be forced.
Always fluid in movement, awe-inspiring by design
it unwaveringly renews us
even moving to the lowliest of places
to bring clarity to where there is clouded confusion,
then effortlessly returns to it's source.

A good conversation is healing.
making the heart feel safe and understood.
It allows for questions that otherwise might never be spoken.
And must, in those memorable moments, make you laugh!
It transcends the mundane
and unveils the mystique of the human and the Divine,
moving hearts to places rarely known.

A good conversation renews, illumines, casts darkness aside
and aids in making us all a bit more whole.
It affirms truth, direction and heartfelt love,
and gives wings to soar beyond what is,
to what might be

A good conversation is always good,
for in it we unearth deeper truths,
embrace softer hearts,
and discover deeper connections.
It is where two become one,
even if only momentarily,
to a spirited dance that is pure, penetrating and free...



"Blindness" by Bei Kuan-tu

Stanley Roseman, "A Trappist Monk Bowing in Prayer," 1982


As a war-weary soul
pursues some form of finality,
the Light,
that lit the hearts of humans 
fell prey to sadistic shadows.
There, carnality found insanity it's logical end.
And the heart
turning diabolical, devoid of heat
became a psychological wasteland
absent of color or being.

It was here, in hopeless ruin
that Wisdom ushered in,
like a seed penetrating an unyielding surface,
rising out of disorder and disarray.

Wise ones, sages of the Light, 
appeared without announcement.
Scattered amongst men 
they were quickly cast as strangers
misfits of the night.
Their jagged staffs, carved by paradox, 
brought piercing expression, 
of word and deed.

Using riddles and simple parables, 
they confounded the teachers of their day
whose hooded heads slithered
in eerie shadows, 
filled with enmity & jealous sneers.

With eyes aglow
these wise ones walked in imponderable liberty.
Onlookers witnessed their radiant freedom,
a childlike serenity
and the power of presence.
Less observant bystanders
kept their distance
meandering in mayhem
casualties of the labyrinth

With leathered hands and steely eyes 
these lowly sages proclaimed the Light of Love.
Simple ones recognized their authenticity,
but the righteous, blinded by fallacy,
found only the allure of their own lunacy. 

It was here, Love lent its shield 
against the stones of ignorance and rapacity
where illusions dissolved like wax to flame,
winter gave way to spring
and life arose from smoldering ash.

People leapt with joy,
hearts caught fire.
For these wise ones were the repairers of the breach
beings of hope
for a humanity who’d lost its way.

For the Truth,
timeless and tender as it was,
was again boldly proclaimed
fracturing the darkest of nights
bringing forth incomprehensible Light
and stirring many to arise from sullen sleep

Shadows vanished forever
and Light, the source of all that ever was or could ever be
again, lit the hearts of all

Surely a new day had come…

© 2018 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

"What the Mystics Know — Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self" (excerpt) by Richard Rohr

Portrait of a Young Boy with Peyot by Isidor Kaufmann (1853-1921) 

"Once upon a time, a small Jewish boy went to his rabbi and said he didn't know how to love God. 'How can I love God when I've never seen him?' asked the boy. 'I think I understand how to love my mother, my father, my brother, my little sister, and even the people in our neighborhood, but I don't know how I'm supposed to love God.'
"The rabbi looked at the little boy and said, 'Start with a stone. Try to love a stone. Try to be present to the most simple and basic thing in reality so you can see its goodness and beauty. Then let that goodness and beauty come into you. Let it speak to you. Start with a stone.' The boy nodded with understanding.

" 'Then, when you can love a stone,' the rabbi continued, 'try a flower. See if you can love a flower. See if you can be present to it and let its beauty come into you. See if you can let its life come into you and you can give yourself to it. You don't have to pluck it, possess it, or destroy it. You can just love it over there in the garden.' The boy nodded again.

" 'I'm not saying it's wrong to pick flowers,' added the rabbi. 'I'm just asking you to learn something from the flower without putting it in a vase.' The boy smiled, which meant he understood – or maybe he didn't. Just in case he didn't the rabbi chose the boy's pet dog as the next object of loving and listening. The boy nodded and smiled when the rabbi talked about his dog; he even said, 'Yes, Rabbi.'

" 'Then,' the rabbi went on, 'try to love the sky and the mountains, the beauty of all creation. Try to be present to it in its many forms. Let it speak to you and let it come into you.' The boy sensed the rabbi wanted to say some more, so he nodded again, as if he understood.

" 'Then,' the rabbi said, 'try to love a woman. Try to be faithful to a woman and sacrifice yourself for her. After you have loved a stone, a flower, your little dog, the mountain, the sky, and a woman, then you'll be ready to love God.’

"How lovely, and how true! Too many people have tried to short-circuit the process of learning to love God. Instead of starting with a stone and working their way up to God, they quickly pretend to have some immediate contact with divine revelation. I don't want to discourage anyone from running to God, but some people don't yet know how to run or how to love the stones. They don't yet know how to perceive, how to be faithful, how to sacrifice, how to see without trying to control. They probably try to control because, like the rest of us, they feel weak, alienated, and out of communion with reality. But control never works in the spiritual life. The 'undergoing' (passion) teaches more than the fixing and explaining (action).

"People with little or no patience for communing with stones, flowers, pets, or human beings will probably not have much more patience communing directly with God. . . . They will most likely distort the revelation of God and use it for their own purposes. The false, egocentric self, disconnected from union, will be unable to see things correctly or enjoy them for themselves. The fragmented person seems to fragment everything else. The reconnected person sees rightly and, not surprisingly, sees God, too."

"Real Spiritual Journey" by Fr. Thomas Keating


“Hence, it's obvious to see why in AA the community is so important; we are powerless over ourselves. Since we don't have immediate awareness of the Higher Power and how it works, we need to be constantly reminded of our commitment to freedom and liberation. The old patterns are so seductive that as they go off, they set off the association of ideas and the desire to give in to our addiction with an enormous force that we can't handle. The renewal of defeat often leads to despair. At the same time, it's a source of hope for those who have a spiritual view of the process. Because it reminds us that we have to renew once again our total dependence on the Higher Power. This is not just a notional acknowledgment of our need. We feel it from the very depths of our being. Something in us causes our whole being to cry out, “Help!” That's when the steps begin to work. And that, I might add, is when the spiritual journey begins to work. A lot of activities that people in that category regard as spiritual are not communicating to them experientially their profound dependence on the grace of God to go anywhere with their spiritual practices or observances. That's why religious practice can be so ineffective. The real spiritual journey depends on our acknowledging the unmanageability of our lives. The love of God or the Higher Power is what heals us. Nobody becomes a full human being without love. It brings to life people who are most damaged. The steps are really an engagement in an ever-deepening relationship with God. Divine love picks us up when we sincerely believe nobody else will. We then begin to experience freedom, peace, calm, equanimity, and liberation from cravings for what we have come to know are damaging—cravings that cannot bring happiness, but at best only momentary relief that makes the real problem worse.”

Thomas Keating, Divine Therapy and Addiction

"The Slow Hand of God" by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”


“The Hero Path" by Joseph Campbell

We have not even to risk the adventure alone
for the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The labyrinth is thoroughly known ...
we have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.”

It seems near impossible to say so much in so few words. Campbell demonstrates what I like to think of as a "cosmic connection." Of course, I don't pretend to understand such mysteries, but possibly this is what the ancients understood as drawing from the well of "the Christ", or "Buddha nature" or "Tao."

—Bei Kuan-tu connection


"Presence" — Unknown

Poet Bai Juyi (772–846) visits 鳥巢道林 Niaoge Daolin (741-824) Chan master
Painting by 洪子明 Hong Ziming (1953-)

“Where shall I look for Enlightenment?”
“When will it happen?”
“It is happening right now.”
“Then why don’t I experience it?”
“Because you do not look.”
“What should I look for?”
“Nothing. Just look.”
“At what?”
“Anything your eyes alight upon.”
“Must I look in a special kind of way?”
“No. The ordinary way will do.”
“But don‘t I always look the ordinary way?”
“Why ever not?”
“Because to look you must be here.
You‘re mostly somewhere else.”


"Thomas Aquinas Stops Writing" - (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD


The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw." How could it be otherwise when the scholar becomes a seer?

When the mystic came
down from the mountain
he was accosted by the
atheist, who said sarcastically,
"What did you bring us
from that garden of delights you were in?"

The mystic replied, "I had
every intention of filling my
skirt with flowers and giving
them to my friends on my
But while I was there
I became so intoxicated
with the fragrance of the garden
that I let go of the skirt. “

The Zen masters put it succinctly:
"The one who knows,
does not say.
The one who says,
does not know."


"Agents of Grace" by William Martin


The sage can find a welcome
in the most inhospitable places
because no one perceives a threat.
People soften in the sage's presence
and minds open up to learning.
Kindly spoken words
open doors that crowbars couldn't budge.

We can transform family gatherings
not by our demands but by our smiles.
We can enliven conversations
rather than dominate them.
We are becoming agents of grace and hope,
rather than of tyranny and despair.

"Haiku: Eastern Culture" - Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth

Haiku 12
A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature;
it is a hand becoming,
a door half-opened,
a mirror wiped clean. 
It is a way of returning to nature,
to our moon nature,
our cherry blossom nature,
our falling leaf nature,
in short, to our Buddha nature. 

It is a way in which the cold winter rain,
the swallows of evening,
even the very day in its hotness,
and the length of the night,
become truly alive,
share in our humanity,
speak their own silent
and expressive language.

Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
Translations and commentary by Reginald H.


"THE WELCOMING" by Michael Stillwater

Let yourself relax into this moment.
Let yourself be held without any need to hold yourself up.

Let yourself meet the unknown.
It’s OK. It’s a place we don’t have to know with our mind.

What if there were angels all around you and you just couldn’t see them? What if there was a love so vast that you could never be apart from it? What if it was impossible for you to go anywhere Where this love could not find you?

You are entering the Beauty not far from your heart. It’s a place that embraces you as you are. I trust that you will be met by a welcoming presence that knows you, and that meets you with a deeper love than you have ever imagined in this world.

May you know, without any doubt, the precious gift that you are. And may you be welcomed by a presence so loving that all fear subsides.

Far beyond where winds have blown, waking into realms unknown Footsteps free of space and time, silent thunder, holy mind In the heart a song of peace and mercy, calling me back home.

Zen Story: Impermanence — Author Unknown

A revered Zen teacher once approached the king’s palace late at night. The guards did not stop him as he made his way inside to where the king was seated upon his throne. The king recognized him too. 

“Welcome, sir. What do you want?” the king asked.

“I wish to sleep in this inn tonight”, said the teacher.

Taken aback, the king snorted, “This is no inn! It is my palace!”

The teacher politely asked, “If I may ask, who owned this palace before you?”

“Why, my father, of course! He is dead now.”

“And who lived here before your father?””

“My grandfather, naturally. He’s dead too.”

“This building where people live for some time and go away, did you say that it is not an inn?”

"Scars" (excerpt) 365 TAO by Deng Ming Dao

Markings in dry clay disappear
Only when the clay is soft again.
Scars upon the self disappear
Only when one becomes soft within.

Throughout our life, but especially during our youth, many scars are inflicted upon us. Some of them are the results of violence, abuse, rape, or warfare. Others arise from bad education. A few come from humiliation and failure. Others are caused by our own misadventures. Unless we recover from these injuries, the scars mar us forever.

Classical scriptures urge us to withdraw from our own lusts and sins. But scars that have happened through no fault of our own may also bar us from spiritual success. Unfortunately, it is often easier to give up a bad habit than to recover from the incisions of others' violence. The only way is through self-cultivation. Doctors and priests can only do so much. The true course of healing is up to us alone. To do this, we must acquire many methods, travel widely, struggle to overcome our personal phobias, and perhaps most importantly of all, try to acquire as few new problems as possible. Unless we do, each one of them will bar us from true communion with Tao.

Indie Bound.org

"WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" by Anthony de Mello


The master imprints his wisdom in the heart of his disciples, not in the pages of a book. The disciple might carry this wisdom for thirty or forty years, hidden in his heart, until he meets someone ready to receive it. Such was the tradition of Zen.

The Zen master Mu-nan sent for his disciple Shoju one day and said, "I am an old man now, Shoju, and it is you who will carry on this teaching.
Here is a book that has been handed down for seven generations from master to master. I have myself added some notes to it that you will find valuable. Here, keep it with you as a sign that I have made you my successor.
"You had better keep the book yourself," said Shoju. "1 received your Zen without the help of written words and I am quite content to let it be that way."
“I know, I know," said Mu-nan patiently. "Even so, the book has served seven generations and it may be helpful to you too. Here, keep it with you."
The two happened to be talking near the fireplace.
The instant the book touched Shoju’s hand he flung it into the fire. He had no lust for written words.
Mu-nan, who was never known to be angry before, shouted, "You must be crazy! What are you doing?”
Shoju shouted back, "You are crazy yourself!
What are you saying?”

The guru speaks with authority of what he himself has experienced. He quotes no books.


"The Superlative Horse" retold by Deng Ming Tao

Arabian Horse Drawing 2013 09 13a
by Angel Ciesniarska

Duke Mu of Qin said to Bo Le, his best judge of horses: “You are growing old. Could I ask your sons to find horses for me in your place?”

Bo Le replied: “Anyone can find an excellent horse by looking at its build, its color, its muscles, and its bone structure. But only a rare few can find a superlative horse that raises no dust and leaves no tracks. Although my sons have the talent to find excellent horses, they cannot see a superlative horse. However, I do have a friend named Gao who is a firewood and vegetable hawker. His ability to choose horses is as good as mine. Please talk to him.”

So Duke Mu summoned Gao and hired him to look for horses. Gao returned after three months and reported that he had found a horse in Shaqiu.

The duke asked him eagerly: “What kind of horse is it?” Gao replied, “It is a brown mare.”

Duke Mu sent for the horse with great excitement. But he was disappointed weeks later when the grooms brought him a black stallion.

The duke was speechless with anger and summoned Bo Le. “This is terrible. The man you recommended doesn’t 2 know the difference between colors or whether a horse is a stallion or a mare! How can he possibly judge horses?”

Bo Le sighed deeply. “Has he progressed that far? Then he’s worth a million of me and there is no comparing us. His vision is superior! He sees the divine workings and the subtle essence instead of coarse appearances. He sees what’s inside and is not fooled by what’s outside. He sees what ought to be seen and ignores what ought to be ignored. Gao can truly judge horses!”

Bo Le asked to see the steed. When it was led in, he saw right away that it was a superlative horse.


"THE GURU’S CAT" by Anthony de Mello

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When the guru sat down to worship each evening, the ashram cat would get in the way and distract the worshippers. So he ordered that the cat be tied during evening worship.

After the guru died, the cat continued to be tied during evening worship. And when the cat expired, another cat was brought to the ashram so that it could be duly tied during evening worship.

Centuries later, learned treatises were written by the guru’s scholarly disciples on the liturgical significance of tying up a cat while worship is performed.

SOURCE: Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird ,
(Image; Reprint edition, 1984) page 63


"The Formula" by Anthony de Mello

The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like.”

But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?

He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.

They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.

The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.


"Remembering a Wrong"


SOURCE: https://www.buddhadoodles.com/pages/about

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History of Sumi-e

History of Sumi-e

The 2000 year-old art form of Japanese brush painting is spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism. Sumi-e's earliest practitioners were highly disciplined monks trained in the art of concentration, clarity, and simplicity. These early Zen Masters dedicated themselves to the art form with spiritual intensity through long years of serious reflection and strict discipline. Respect for Sumi-e's demands shaped their aesthetic direction.

The monks adhered to a rigorous schedule of meditation in preparation for painting. Entering a deep contemplative state was at the core of the creative process: preparing the inkstone, grinding the sumi ink, loading the brush (fude), releasing the brush stroke on rice paper or silk scroll. Mastering the nuances of the black sumi ink was more difficult than painting with color and required consummate skill.

Throughout its long and venerable history, Sumi-e has been held in high esteem and became a powerful way to inculcate the values of Bushido, the Samurai Code of Conduct. For the swordsman, composure on the brink of battle had its artistic parallel in the calm and tranquility essential before the fearless release of a brush stroke. Embodying the honorable ancient warrior codes, Sumi-e was a metaphor for the ephemeral world of the courageous Samurai swordsman.

Today, becoming a Master Sumi-e artist requires the same investment of effort and time in rigorous training and discipline.
SOURCE: http://www.drue.net/sumi-e-history/

SOURCE: http://www.sumi-e-berlin.de/en/landscapes/

SOURCE: http://museartstudios.com/project/art-of-meditation-sumie-birds/

SOURCE: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/buddhist-monk-with-a-bowl-zen-calligraphy-original-ink-painting-artwork-mariusz-szmerdt.html

SOURCE: https://skipallenpaints.com/watercolor-gallery/sumi-e-dragonfly-2/

SOURCE: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/466615211370948355/?lp=true

SOURCE: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/225250418839377645/?lp=true

SOURCE: http://www.turtlelightpress.com/products/sumi-e/

SOURCE: http://sumi-e.info/london-4-gallery-sumi-e-calligraphy-manga.htm


"What If…" — Ganga White

Yoga for Health, Healing and Life

"What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water--the rivers, lakes, and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being."

©1998 Ganga White, Santa Barbara All Rights Reserved
- Written at the Rainforest Benefit, NYC April 1998


"Half-Enlightened Masters" (from Hua Hu Ching - Reading 80) by Brian Browne Walker

The world is full of
half-enlightened masters.
Overly clever,
too "sensitive"  to live in the real world,
they surround themselves with selfish pleasures
and bestow their grandiose teachings
upon the unwary.

publicizing themselves,
intent upon reaching some spiritual climax,
they constantly sacrifice the truth
and deviate from the Tao.

What they really offer the world
is their own confusion.

The true master
understands that enlightenment is not the end,
but the means.

that virtue is her goal,
she accepts the long and
often arduous cultivation
that is necessary to attain it.

She doesn't scheme
to become a leader,
but quietly shoulders whatever
responsibilities fall to her.

Unattached to her accomplishments,
taking credit for nothing at all,
she guides the whole world
by guiding the individuals
who come to her.

She shares her divine energy
with her students,
encouraging them,
creating trials to strengthen them,
scolding them to awaken them,
directing the streams of their
lives toward the infinite
ocean of the Tao.

If you aspire to this sort of mastery,
then root yourself in the Tao.
Relinquish your negative habits and attitudes.
Strengthen your sincerity.
Live in the real world,
and extend your virtue to it without discrimination in the
daily round.

Be the truest
father or mother,
the truest brother or sister,
the truest friend, and the truest disciple.
Humbly respect and serve your
and dedicate your entire being unwaveringly
to self-cultivation.
Then you will surely achieve
and be able to help others
in doing the same.

Hua Hu Ching, by Brian Browne Walker


"I Write Because..." by Scott McCleod

Pasted Graphic 3
--“Lady Writer” by Robin Cheers

--by T. Scott McLeod

I write because of the fragility of our existence.

I write because it's my answer to impermanence.

I write because it helps me stay connected to my heart.

I write because we’re all different, and so much the same.

I write because the world needs more tenderness.

I write because I'm tired of secrets.

I write because it’s my path to redemption.

I write because I've forsaken those that I love.

I write because I want to know myself.

I write because I want to know you.

I write because I'm drawn towards things I shouldn't do.

I write because every flower is meant to bloom.

I write because life is full of paradoxes.

I write because I’ve had to leave friends behind.

I write because it's my form of prayer.

I write because, when I write, I lose track of time.

I write because I've walked dark streets looking for love.

I write because of the way the sublime slips away from words.

I write because of the twice shy part of once burned.

I write because it helps me learn.

I write because there are plenty of people who have written, famous well-published people, literary figures, literary giants, and I didn't like what they wrote.

I write because I'm always telling myself stories anyhow.

I write because I don't know all of the reasons I write.

I write for you.

I write. I write. I write. 



"Vanity" — Unknown

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There was a zen monk whose vanity was his poverty and humility. He lived in a cave outside his monastery, ate only food he could glean from what others threw away, and washed his robes only by walking in the rain. Once every week he would leave his cave and enter the monastery. There he would choose a young monk to walk with him that day so that he might give the younger man the benefit of is wisdom, which he was sure was both vast and deep. He delighted in tormenting the young students, and then lecturing the abbot about the poor quality of his teachings. One day while walking, the young man which he had chosen stopped to squat down and crap. When he finished, he looked up to the old monk and said, "Sensei, may I have a leaf to wipe my ass?'

The old monk smiled mockingly. "The buddah teaches us to respect life in all of its wondrous forms. Is it respectful to the leaf to do such a thing?"

The young man thought for a moment. "Then what about a stick?" he asked. A stick has no life, and surely the Buddah would not begrudge its use."

The monk shook his head with disdain. "My son, the Buddah cherishes all life. He cherishes life that was, life that is, and life that will be. Look around you and choose again."

The young man thought for a moment, then reached out and took the monk's sleeve and wiped his ass with it. The monk was utterly stunned. He looked at the shit on his sleeve, and then looked at the young man. "Why did you do that?" he shouted. "Why did you just smear your shit on my sleeve?"

The young man stood and smiled kindly. "Sensei, I looked all around me, and the only thing I could find that the Buddah would neither respect nor cherish was you."

Source: http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2008/01/telling-your-fundamentalist-christian.html


"Hitcher" — Bei Kuan-tu


As I stand alone on an open highway, 
a cool breeze wisps against a single descending tear,
as an accordion exhaling its final sounds. 
Emptiness weakens and overwhelms me,
like molten lava being drawn gravitationally
to its climactic end.

Gazing out towards a spectral horizon, 
imagination extracts me of all sensibility and perspective, 
What is whispered within is the mystery of a masters brush and chisel. 
Clouds rest their weary bottoms on rocky plateaus 
appearing like chairs crafted from impenetrable stone. 
Particles swirl in multiple directions  
creating dancing dust-devils in movie-like animation. 
I'm awed by the wily wink of these wonders
For this day, mystery besets me 
and silence engulfs my tender heart.
I feel so small;  
as if a minute spec of matter 
unknowingly placed somewhere in the cosmos.
And alone... so very alone.

I am a captive to the lines of this interstate.
And strangely, I sense an illustrative and profound Presence: 
incomprehensible, unnerving and unknowable.
I’m drawn to it's shapeless shadow;
desiring to dance to it's darkened delight.
And I get so very close. 

Though maimed by years of crooked blindness
I unquestionably glimpse and sense it’s formless Presence ; 
though chilled by what feels like eons of self-doubt, 
I’m aware of its alluring eyes observing me.

One tear becomes many, 
and like the ever expanding nature of constellations in the cosmos,
they flow.
I sense my end and beginning fuzing mystically into one.
As I yield to this all-encompassing specter,
like dew vaporizing into sightless sound,
my existence reaches its final stay.
For my undoing is upon me
and "I," without thought, am no more.

What remains of me is the road itself, 
simple, solitary and paradoxical.

© 2012 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

"Above the Fog" by Michael P. Garofalo


Opening bell
echoes from the canyon walls --
raindrops on the river.
The sounds of rocks bouncing off rocks;
the shadows of trees traced on trees.
I sit, still.
The canyon river chants,
moving mountains.
The sermon spun on the still point:
dropping off eternity, picking up time;
letting go of self, awakened to Mind.

Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog

"Rainmaker of Kiau-Tchou" from The Nature Writings of C. G. Jung

There was a great drought where the missionary Richard Wilhelm lived in China. There had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said: We will fetch the rain maker. And from another province, a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.

On the fourth day, clouds gathered and there was a great snowstorm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rain maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion [Wilhelm] said: “They call you the rain maker, will you tell me how you made the snow?”

And the little Chinaman said: “I did not make the snow, I am not responsible.”

“But what have you done these three days?”

“Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordnance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came.”

--- From The Nature Writings of C. G. Jung
©2002, North Atlantic Books


Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching and the Secret of the Golden Flower was one of the major influences in this cultural shift; both of these works had an introduction by Carl Jung.

The School of Wisdom:
Richard Wilhelm is the Marco Polo of the inner world of China.
He, more than any other, is responsible for opening up to the West the vast spiritual heritage of China and thus all of Asia. He translated the great philosophical works from Chinese into German, where they have in turn been translated into the other major languages of the world, including English. To this day, among the dozens of translations of the I Ching now available, his 1923 translation stands head and shoulders above the rest. He introduced the I Ching, and Chinese philosophy, to the School of Wisdom when it first opened in 1920. These ideas have been a integral part of its program ever since. Richard Wilhelm, and the ancient Chinese Sages he came to know so well, are key Ancestors of the School of Wisdom.

Another student of the School of Wisdom, Carl Jung, wrote an interesting sketch of the inner world of Richard Wilhelm, as part of his Jung’s autobiography.

More than just a linguist and scholar, Wilhelm was a spiritual seeker who penetrated to the very depths of Chinese spirituality without losing his European frame of reference. Living in China for over twenty years he saw first hand the great cultural and spiritual differences between East and West. At the time, the Europeans were conquering colonial powers in China and had little or no respect of Chinese culture. The Chinese in turn considered the Europeans to be barbarians and closed their spiritual traditions to Westerners. Richard Wilhelm was one of the first to realize the value of Chinese thinking, to bridge the great divide between the two cultures. This division was internalized in his own soul after he moved to China in 1899 and began to penetrate its spiritual secrets. As he integrated Chinese thinking and world views into his own life, the gap between Western and Oriental culture split his very being in two. The new Chinese part of himself did not take over, he did not lose his European identity. He was able to translate the Chinese ideas back into the European gestalt. But the effort required was tremendous and he struggled his whole adult life to try to merge the two divergent spiritual traditions in his soul.

This struggle manifested itself physically in 1910 when Wilhelm contracted amoebic dysentery from Chinese food and lay seriously ill for months. The next year he met Lao Nai-hsuan, the Chinese sage who helped him through the internal conflict and Wilhelm recovered. With Lao’s help he bridged the gap and found inner tranquility, at least for a time. But many years later upon his final return to Germany in 1924, the tranquility lapsed, and the fight between the European and Chinese sides of Wilhelm renewed. After only four years in Europe, at age fifty five, Wilhelm suffered a relapse of his amoebic dysentery. The long-dormant microscopic organism that had invaded his system and triggered his illness in China in 1910 led to his premature death in 1930. Carl Jung saw in his relapse and early death an inability to integrate the two sides of himself. Although not completely successful in this personal struggle to merge the two cultures in his psyche, his writings, especially his translations of the I Ching: the Book of Changes and the Secret of the Golden Flower, certainly create a strong bridge for people in the West to approach and understand the unique spiritual and cultural insights of the East.

Richard Wilhelm was born far from China, in Germany, in 1873. As a student in a prestigious school, Tubinger Slift, he had broad cultural interests with a special love for the works of the great German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was by nature a deeply spiritual person and his studies naturally turned to theology. In 1895 at the age of 22 he was ordained as a protestant minister and served briefly as a parish minister. Young Richard was idealistic and yearned for broader horizons and adventure. At age 26 he joined the Allgemein Protestantischer Missionsverein and agreed to serve as a missionary in China in the German colonial city of Tsingtao.

Shortly after Wilhelm arrived in China in 1899 the Boxer Rebellion erupted. A large faction of radical Chinese began a violent revolution against European colonialism. All Westerners were targeted for attack, especially missionaries. Although the Boxer Rebellion was eventually crushed, the Europeans were sensitized to the need for better communication with their Chinese subjects. Against this background, Richard Wilhelm began studying the Chinese language as soon as he arrived in China. He quickly discovered that he had a natural gift for the language. Chinese, and the other languages of the East which are derived from it such as Japanese and Korean, are completely different from the languages of the West. They are based on thousands of characters or ideograms, rather than letters. Translation from Eastern languages into Western languages is extremely difficult. The few who can do it are highly prized, especially in missionary work. Recognizing the exceptional aptitude for translation, the missionary group allowed Richard Wilhelm to spend his time studying the language. In 1905, the year his son Helmut was born, he began to translate his first Chinese book into German. His study and translation of Chinese religious life continued until the day he died.

As Wilhelm learned the language he became intrigued with the Chinese religious texts he was studying. Wilhelm quickly developed a passion for Chinese culture, particularly their religious texts. In Tsingtao and in Peking where he studied at the University, he encountered many of the cultural leaders of China at the time. Described by his wife as a warm and gregarious person, Wilhelm was able to befriend many Chinese and learn their way of life. This association with the Chinese language and culture began to transform him into a new person. He began to see the world through the perspective of the Chinese. He was very impressed by the deep spirituality which he found. He came to China intending to convert the heathens to Christianity. But almost without realizing it, the missionary had himself become converted. Many years later Wilhelm would boast to Carl Jung that during his entire twenty-year stay in China he never baptized a single Chinese. He discovered instead that his true mission was to create a translation bridge between Western and Eastern spirituality.

In 1911 at age 38 Wilhelm met Lao Nai-hsuan, the Chinese sage and scholar who profoundly influence his life. After Lao helped Wilhelm recover from amoebic dysentery, Wilhelm founded the Confucius Society in Tsing Tao, and Lao Nai-hsuan became its head. Their relationship grew close. Lao lived from 1843 to 1921. Wilhelm described him as an eminent scholar of the old school, one of the last of his kind, and referred to him as his honored teacher. He was one of the few classic scholars then open to change. He realized that China’s isolation from the rest of the world had to end. Lao was a true Chinese sage, related to the family of Confucius, and trained in Confucian government and traditions. He was also adept at Chinese yoga and psychological methods from the Taoist traditions. His special expertise and passion was the I Ching, and this love quickly spread to Wilhelm. Lao came to trust the extraordinary missionary, and took Wilhelm as his pupil. For the first time the deep spiritual traditions and insights of China were shared with a European.

In 1913 Lao and Wilhelm began the monumental task of translating the I Ching from Chinese to German. The task continued for ten years. At the same time Wilhelm was translating the book into German, Lao was creating a new Chinese edition of the book entitled the Book of Changes According To The Ch’eng School. Lao directly assisted Wilhelm in understanding all aspects of the text. In Wilhelm’s words,
Lao first opened my mind to the wonders of the Book of Changes. Under his experienced guidance I wandered entranced through this strange yet familiar world. The translation of the text was made after detailed discussion. Then the German version was retranslated into Chinese and it was only after the meaning of the text had been fully brought out that we considered our version to be truly a translation.

In 1921, just as the last pages of the printer’s proofs of the finished translation were coming back, Lao Nai-hsuan died, his life’s work complete. Wilhelm continued to edit the work and to add his own comments over the next few years until he concluded the I Ching: Book of Changes, in 1923. The next year he was forced to return to Germany where he assumed a position as a Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Frankfurt. In 1925 he founded the China Institute and served as its director until his death.

From 1924, until his death in 1930, the focus of his work shifted from translation to lecturing and teaching. He tried to promote the great culture and spiritual insights of China. To do so effectively he had to personally serve as a kind of bridge of the great cultural divide between China and Europe. At first he encountered opposition and hostility to his efforts on many fronts. Europe was nationalistic and chauvinistic. The academic community distrusted him because of his missionary background, and the religious community distrusted him because of his transcendence of Christianity. But a few listened, including Count Keyserling, who was also opposed to the nationalists, academics and orthodox religions. Wilhelm participated in Keyserling’s book on marriage, writing the chapter on Chinese marriage and its spiritual significance. Wilhelm also participated in the School of Wisdom in Darmstadt. Due to his influence on Count Keyserling, and his son, Arnold Keyserling, Chinese philosophy, particularly the I Ching, became a central part of the School of Wisdom curriculum.

At the School of Wisdom Richard Wilhelm met Carl Jung, who became his good friend. Jung also realized the great significance of Wilhelm’s work, particularly the I Ching. Jung helped Wilhelm gain respectability in the German academic community, and wrote lengthy introductions to Wilhelm’s two most important translations, I Ching: Book of Changes and The Secret of the Golden Flower. These two books had a profound influence on Carl Jung.

With the help of Keyserling and Jung, Wilhelm’s work in Germany eventually met with some success. Wilhelm’s books were published, and he met and influenced other important cultural leaders, such as the writer Herman Hesse and the musician Joseph Hauer. But according to Jung, Wilhelm was not able to make a smooth psychological transition back to European life. Wilhelm began to cut himself off from his spiritual roots in China. In Jung’s words, Wilhelm “seemed to feel the pressure of the European spirit”. When Jung first met Wilhelm he seemed completely Chinese to Jung, in outward manner as well as way of writing and speaking. But a few years later this changed. Now Wilhelm’s lectures on China began to sound more like Christian sermons to Jung. The two sides of himself, the Chinese and the German, began to split apart, with the Chinese side going into the unconscious. As the Christian views and forms of thought moved into the foreground, his resistance to the Chinese bacteria living in his body weakened. Wilhelm relapsed into the amoebic dysentery he originally contracted in 1910. Carl Jung tried to treat him, but in the end the inner psychological conflict between east and West proved too strong, and Richard Wilhelm died at age 57. His grave is shown below. His great spiritual legacy, I Ching: Book of Changes and The Secret of the Golden Flower, and other books, will live forever. (Note: a search of the Internet will reveal full text versions of some of his books, including the I Ching, most of which are of questionable copyright status, and thus not reproduced here.)



”The End of Suffering” by Thich Nhat Hanh


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 comes to their heart — 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 the 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.

"Love Flies" by Bei Kuan-tu

Lone Bird

Emptiness has a way
of slowing the mind to a standstill.
Vastness does quite the same.

The Tao is emptiness and vastness
In such a place
Love flies like a lone bird.

© 2012 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

“An Artist’s Eye” by Bei Kuan-tu

—-Painting by Tracey Fletcher King

This poem is dedicated to my wise, sweet friend M. A person of incalculable passion for life and the path she now excitingly follows.

You were born of the Holy
gifted in ways that few know
and fewer could ever know.
How long has your heart celebrated your poetic flair?
and artistic touch?
that searches the stillness of the night
for its next expression?
Most likely, long before you were born

Cloaked in paradox and allegory
without name or form,
from your birth you’ve been drawn to this mystery
where the voice of the ages whispers come hither,
whereby the soul speaks the unspeakable,
in a patois of an artist’s eye

A turbulent past sparks your present flare.
Primer before pigment, ya know.
A naked, transparent heart embodies you
to paint and pen your passions,
hopes and celestial dreams

For so long you resisted,
“practicality over passion”,
“first things first”
but the universe said no.
It’s “still small voice”
igniting your soul to rise
sometimes fearless.
Transcribing between empty frames,
brushstrokes of beauty, sorrow, agony and bliss
speaking your sweet language of light,
All as a winsome woman — now set free!

You‘ve worn these colors from your earliest days,
unfathomable sensitivity
drawing nigh
deeper into the human condition;
questioning the very fiber of reality;
To find where you belong;
To know who you belong with;
To seek guidance from within;
And to gaze up at the amazing sparkles
that hang from the night sky.
expressions of humanity’s hymn,
all in an artist’s eye!

Your calling is that of a living flame,
with heat and Light!
to paint and pen what arises
deep calling to deep.
You are love’s mystery
incalculably sassy
always anointed
And with the most exquisite artist’s eye.

© 2017 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

Zen Poem — Ikkyu

63 Snow Moon.preview
Artist Linda Nadel

Every day priests minutely examine the Dharma (universal law)
and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though,
they should learn how to read the love letters
sent by the wind and rain,
the snow and moon.


PATSY CANYON by Rebecca Braun

--Frederic Edwin Church’s “Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860

Where my dreams ran wild.
Fierce rolling thunderclouds and sheets of rain 
move quickly through the wide expanse.
Purple, black, angry energy;
fragrant coniferous forest floating 
on the current of chilly air
as the stormy clouds tumble toward me.

Wild stallions run, 
prairie dog and chipmunks chatter,
King birds hover as jackrabbits stop
their foraging to run down the rocky slope. 
Far off into the distance coyotes howl a warning, 
their voices singing on the crisp cold air.

It was here I brought my love in spring
eyes reflecting in deep blue lakes 
and fresh running streams.
We shared this secret landscape,
my senses reeled, my body craved 
the excitement of his languid touch.

It was here his desire shook me, 
the canyon thunder collapsing and echoing
for miles in summer squander. 
He caressed every line of my face,
tousling my flowing hair into waves of wind
blowing softly. 

In winter, our snowshoes would leave prints
on a perfect sea of whiteness along the edge,
his voice calling my name across the canyon,
floating along the emptiness
in a timbre sweet and joyous.

Now, black clouds roll in to capture my heart.
Left alone, I stand on the precipice
waiting for the wind and rain to slap my face,
and awaken me from this dream.
His voice dances faintly on the memory 
of the turbulent tides of a fading storm.

©2013 Rebecca Braun All rights reserved.


"BEGINNING" by Deng Ming Dao (excerpt from 365 Tao)

Pasted Graphic 1
In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.

Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.



DANCE by Doreen Davis

by Doreen Davis

Dancer of Lies, what are you telling me?
“Keep dancing.
Dance around the truth.
Dance this way and that.
Dance until you are exhausted.”

Dear Soul, what are you telling me?
“Keep dancing.
Dance into the truth.
Dance to your heart’s beat, the earth’s pulse,
            to God’s breath.
Dance your imprint on cave walls and forest floors.
Dance into the light that surrounds your crown.
            Let it lift you,
And dance your spirit into the heavens.
Dance until your heart sparkles.

Dance until you awaken to your Divine Perfection.”

Ms. Davis' Website:

"How Will You Kiss?" by Judith Pordon

Gustav Klimt "The Kiss"
--"The Kiss" 1907-08 by Gustav Klimt

Lilt me your lips,
our lost breath intermingling.

Synchronize our silence
as lazy hours ease by.

Waft cocoa, hazelnut, cinnamon,
scents around me.

Tremble with me
in paralyzing pauses.

I may no longer breathe
without breathing you.



"Walk On" by Jyoti

---Drawing by Murphy Elliott

Good morning, Grandfather.
I entered this life a ways back
and put skin on to walk two-legged on this Creation— and what a glorious time it was.
It taught me about breath
and about sensing and feeling and caring through my heart.
And I walked on around that Red Road, looking and trying to understand more about the mystery and the secrets She holds.
And You spoke to me through the wind, and You sang to me through the birds.
And You brought challenges forth

so that I might listen to the message You bring me more sincerely. And I kept walking down this road.
And I came 'round the bend at the middle of that curve in the road
and I began to find a secret in the Spirit of my Self . . .

And still I walked on, sometimes blind and deaf, and sometimes with pain.
But I fought with my fears and I embraced my unknowingness— and still I walked on.
And my children and my family stood with me,
and we came to know each other in those later years more than we
had before—for some of our falseness had fallen away—
and still I walked on.
And I kept walking on this road towards You,
towards that other world that grew closer to me with each step.
And as the door of the Great Spirit world came closer
my fear loomed up inside sometimes . . .
But something called me forth—
the Morning Star rose with each day—
and my prayer became a centering—and still I walked on.
Until I began to hear the Song of the Mother, and Her arms embraced me so,
that instead of walking She carried me right to the door.
And as the door opened, I heard Her Song, and Her Song lifted me up, so I could soar.


"The Monk With Sweaty Palms" from A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle

 Mariusz Szmerdt - Buddhist monk zen
--Buddhist Monk With a Bowl by Mariusz Szmerdt

Kasan, a Zen teacher and monk, was to officiate at a funeral of a famous nobleman.
As he stood there waiting for the governor of the province and other lords and ladies to arrive, he noticed that the palms of his hands were sweaty.

The next day he called his disciples together and confessed he was not yet ready to be a true teacher.
He explained to them that he still lacked the sameness of bearing before all human beings, whether beggar or king. 

He was still unable to look through social roles and conceptual identities and see the sameness of being in every human.
He then left and become the pupil of another master.
Then returned to his former disciples eight years later, enlightened.





"Writer" — Donna Woodka


She withdrew into herself,
First writing just for one,
Then touching thousands,
She incarnated ghosts, hurt, and joy
Into paper-and-ink stories of wonder.

One author said, “I can get rid of anything by writing about it,” meaning that the process of externalization could liberate him from the pain in his soul. That realization produced a delicious dichotomy; to free himself: or to hold on to both joys and tortures by remaining silent about them.

Writers write because they must: They need to express something from deep within themselves. They hear voices that others do not. They listen urgently, and they must communicate what they hear.

People feel Tao in the same way that writers feel something unique. In the process of listening for mysterious voices and expressing the wonder that comes is a magic akin to the perfection of Tao.

“To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all.“ — Lord Byron

“I started with all the handicaps, incapabilities and helplessness. I didn’t talk when I was twenty. I taught myself by the act of writing.” –Anais Nin

“Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one; it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become that path himself.” — Henry Miller

Most people are separated from writing about the things they really feel deeply or even sometimes from knowing they feel those things at all. We live in a very shallow sort of society where we are rather actively discouraged from thinking about anything too deeply or expressing our inner thoughts and emotions, and most people come to internalize this and guard their own thoughts from any depth of feeling.


“New Life” by Aeterna Lumen

--”Spring”by Jonah Lisa Land

The images of my past are swiftly being left behind as I travel into a new day. I lived in a “zombie” state for many years, allowing life to beat me down as I watched others live and breathe, my own death closing in on me. Sleep blanketed my thoughts and I hid underneath the covers to escape the sad reality of my truth in this time of struggle and complacency. I believed my days of creativity, growth, and personal joys were over. I gave my time and lifeblood to soothe and strengthen others. Somewhere in the process I forgot what my life was about.

Now, in this time of autumn as the leaves reach full blazing color, and the rain gently washes them away from their branches, I become fully aware of the steps I have so carefully taken to be free. Free of the dogma of ritualistic religion. Free of relationships that seek to harm and use me up. Free of a profession that had no respect for brilliant minds and full-service hearts. These leaves of my life are being swept away by the wind and rain, leaving my branches bare of the burdens inflicted on me by my own poor choices.

Now, I stand at the crossroads of my purpose and my truth. I choose to follow the path of an authentic life. I empty my mind of self-destructive thoughts leaving room for inspiration, confidence, and the voices of strength and light. My present path may look unwise and uncertain to those who live in fear, while others applaud my efforts and look beyond the futile comforts of a material world. Though my branches may look weathered and worn, devoid of life and color, the core of my trunk is solid and true. There is now room for fresh growth and transformation will surely show its source in the coming spring of my life. Underneath blankets of snow this coming winter I will grow, forming new buds and branches, which will flourish with unknown intensity in the coming years. What has died will now produce regenerated life and beauty. As life imitates nature, the tender buds will open displaying genuine color and shine. This new life will be mine. I pray for wisdom as I choose the colors to decorate the branches of my life.

©2013 Aeterna Lumen All Rights Reserved.


"Spaceships & Invitations" — (excerpt) Marianne Williamson

Painting — “Angel”

Sometimes, love arrives as though it were a spaceship landing in the back yard. The captain comes out of the ship and says to us, "Hi, I'm here to beam you up! Come on! We're going!"

Yet so many times we reject him, saying, "Uh, well, I can't just leave here so fast. Actually, I can't even believe you're here.  How long do I have to prepare my things?"

And he says, "You have no time at all. Your entire life been spent preparing. Now, we must go quickly. If you wait, your eyes will adjust and you will no longer see me. I've just  landed for a bit, to pick you up. You have an hour, max.  You can make further plans from the ship."

The captain sees that we are bewildered, but so is he,  "Haven't you been asking for this for years?" he asks.

"Well, yes," we say. "I have. But I guess I didn't think you were coming. ... I sort of made a life for myself here, in the meantime."

"Not that much of one, judging from your prayers at night," he tells us. "Let's go, if you're coming. I can't wait forever."

And then we say, if we say it, what is ultimately the most tragic thing we will ever say, and that is, "No, thank you." No, I don't choose the ride, even though I want it desperately. No, I don't want to beam up now, even though it's a living hell down here. No, I do not choose the path of wild and radical and authentic love, even though I know I am dying without it. I think I'll just settle for "good enough."

And why do we do that? Why do we not receive with open arms the answers to our prayers? Because we ourselves are authoring what will one day look like natural selection. The human race is turning a corner, and those who choose not to make the turn will keep going straight until they fall off the cliff ahead.

Angels are onboard those spaceships, appearing everywhere now, often in the guise of loved ones holding the torch that would light our way through darkness. On the other side of that darkness is the light in which dreams come true. But there are demons in that darkness, to be sure, and we can feel them. They almost paralyze us with fear. All those unloved parts of ourselves are there, ugly and twisted and ready to destroy. They live in the darkness, on the other side of which is paradise itself. Even though the only way to paradise is through the darkness—and even though the fire of the angel's torch will burn the demons up, not us—we do not trust that. We lack faith. We are staunch and calcified in our refusal to choose love, and so we say to the angel, "No, you go ahead. I'll stay here."

The angel looks at us in disbelief; the refusal of ecstasy is unknown in heaven. The space captain can scarcely believe his ears, but noninterference in and respect for the choices of another human being is a must on the enlightened path. Not that you can force anyone onto a spaceship anyway. One only rides on the wings of an angel if one is seriously committed to the experience of heaven. The lure of hell is so very real here.

Still, as the ship takes off, the captain looks at the angel onboard and notices that there are tiny sparkling rivers of water, falling from her eyes.

Back at headquarters, the angel reports to higher-ups.
"He chose not to go."
The superior is silent, witnessing the angel's pain. The angel continues. "I can hardly believe it. He chose not to go.

"Do you think he understands the consequences?" asks the superior.

"I don't know," says the angel. "I think he thinks that staying there is the more responsible thing to do."

"Responsible ... to whom? To what?"

"I don't know. It's strange. He's not ecstatically happy there, but he thinks it's his duty to stay. He feels it's an adult situation, and he lives in fear that he is not one."

"Yes, of course. Well, we've seen this before. They choose psychology over poetry. We keep trying to evacuate that realm before the storm hits, but people refuse evacuation."


"You prayed for him, of course."

"Oh, yes. With all my heart."

"Well. Job well done. Sorry if your heart was a little bruised on this mission. It's one of the risks, you know. It can happen, of course."

"Of course."

"Still, they're touching creatures. Contentious, but touching.


The angel was trained for love, she was disciplined in love, but her tears still flowed.
You're excused. You may go."

As the angel turned around to weep, her superior called her back. "I say, one thing. . . . Do remember—you'll see him again someday."

"Will I really, Master? Will I really?"

"Of course you will. You must cleave to your own faith at times like these. How else can you convince them of theirs, if you don't?"


"Forgotten Wing" by Bei Kuan-tu


A man’s uncompromising soul,
rests in clarity and valor.
Peter's denial was three,
mine many more.
Love conquers
as all souls do know

Yin, a man’s forgotten wing
a gate to grandeur's heart,
whose nature moves skyward,
to embrace its celestial crown,
reducing and expanding —
into the wisdom of Tao,

which is love left free
to do and be.

"When the Shoe Fits" by Chuang Tzu


Chu’i the draftsman
could draw more perfect circles freehand
than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
spontaneous forms from nowhere.
His mind was meanwhile free and without concern
with what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
the foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
the belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right.
Begin right
and you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
is to forget the right way,
and forget that the going is easy.

AWARENESS by Anthony de Mello (edited by Keith Basar)

Self-Awareness images
The student monk had spent seven years of his life learning how to live and embrace a life of being fully aware thus the highly perceptible state "awareness." His confidence overflowed in such a way that it seemed near impossible for his knowledge to fail him under any circumstance.
Now his study time had ended and he was prepared to be tested his many years of diligent effort.

A three week journey led him to the distant territory of Wuan. There he would stand before a wise master for his final test.

Was he ready to become a teacher monk? Had his studies allowed him to understand all the challenges of "being a fully aware person?'

As the student monk entered the monastery, wet from the final days walk, he removed his muddy shoes and then placed his umbrella in the hall near the door.

The Master, quietly and calmly watched the young monk enter the main chamber. It was here that the Master revealed what would be the students ultimate test question, "did you place your umbrella to the left or right of your clogs?"

The monk was taken by surprise.
Why such simple question, from someone so wise?
In fact, the more he thought about it the more agitated he became. The question seemed absolutely ridiculous! But clearly he could not verbalized his frustration. So his only option he had was to answer the question.

To the question itself, try as he might, he couldn't recall where the umbrella rested.
and he finally had to admit to the Master, he had no idea at all.

'Go back to your teacher for seven more years, and learn once more the secret of awareness'.

Obviously too late in the process the young monk finally remembered the position of his umbrella.

The Master then explained, "Awareness encompasses everything. There is no chance of ever really seeing or understanding who you are or living life to it's fullest without it. AWARENESS is the dance of life, the life stream that touches every sentient Being."

Thoroughly dejected, the monk retuned to his monastery, uncertain of himself or his future.


"The Empty Boat" by Chuang Tzu


Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.


"Enlightenment" by Francis Bennett


Often, we think of awakening and "enlightenment" as a very complicated, very esoteric or exotic experience that only happens to very special people who go off to India and sit in a cave for 13 yrs or so! But one simple way of describing enlightenment would be to simply say it is the realization that "past" and "future" are completely in our heads and NEVER in our own direct, most obvious experience.

All we ever directly experience is NOW. We create past and future as a purely conceptual "reality" and then take them to be true reality. They are not. The only real reality you ever have...is NOW! It has always been so. It has ALWAYS been NOW! Obviously, if past and future are illusory, the "self" you have also created in your head is no more real! To exist, this "self" is entirely dependent on past and future. So, it doesn't really exist as anything more than a concept either.

Song of Myself (1892 version) by Walt Whitman


I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.

To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?

Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.

I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valvèd voice.

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the 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 worm fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.

A child said
What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say

Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe, and am not contain’d between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.

I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)

Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.

Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away.

The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.

The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.

The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen.

The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or in fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart.

The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.

I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross-beams and seize the clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.

Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill’d game,
Falling asleep on the gather’d leaves with my dog and gun by my side.

The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,

My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck.

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,
I tuck’d my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach’d to her feet.

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean’d in the corner.

Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.

She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.

Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.

Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.

The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.

An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.

The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch,
They do not think whom they souse with spray.

The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,
I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down.

Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,
Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire.

From the cinder-strew’d threshold I follow their movements,
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,
Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,
They do not hasten, each man hits in his place.

The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,
The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and tall he stands pois’d on one leg on the string-piece,
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish’d and perfect limbs.

I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,
I go with the team also.

In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,
To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,
Absorbing all to myself and for this song.

Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.

My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,
They rise together, they slowly circle around.

I believe in those wing’d purposes,
And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me,
And consider green and violet and the tufted crown intentional,
And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,
And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,
And the look of the bay mare shames silliness out of me.

The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,
Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.

The sharp-hoof’d moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog,
The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats,
The brood of the turkey-hen and she with her half-spread wings,
I see in them and myself the same old law.

The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections,
They scorn the best I can do to relate them.

I am enamour’d of growing out-doors,
Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods,
Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,
I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out.

What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,
Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,
Scattering it freely forever.

The pure contralto sings in the organ loft,
The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,
The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanksgiving dinner,
The pilot seizes the king-pin, he heaves down with a strong arm,
The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,

The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches,
The deacons are ordain’d with cross’d hands at the altar,
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,
The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,
The lunatic is carried at last to the asylum a confirm’d case,
(He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother’s bed-roomWinking
The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his case,
He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manuscript;
The malform’d limbs are tied to the surgeon’s table,
What is removed drops horribly in a pail;
The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,
The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,
The young fellow drives the express-wagon, (I love him, though I do not know himWinking
The half-breed straps on his light boots to compete in the race,
The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,
Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;
The groups of newly-come immigrants cover the wharf or levee,
As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,
The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their partners, the dancers bow to each other,
The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof’d garret and harks to the musical rain,
The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron,
The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm’d cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale,
The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,
As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,
The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,
The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,
The clean-hair’d Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill,
The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter’s lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold,
The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,
The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,
The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,
The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, (how the white sails sparkle!)
The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,
The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, (the purchaser higgling about the odd centWinking
The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly,
The opium-eater reclines with rigid head and just-open’d lips,
The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck,
The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other,
(Miserable! I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer youWinking
The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries,
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,
The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,
The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,
As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change,
The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar,
In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the laborers;
Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather’d, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, (what salutes of cannon and small arms!)
Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground;
Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface,
The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe,
Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,
Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain’d by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,
Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,

Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grandsons around them,
In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day’s sport,
The city sleeps and the country sleeps,
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time,
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.

I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse and stuff’d with the stuff that is fine,
One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,
A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,
A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,
A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,
A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;
At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland,
At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tacking,
At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch,
Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North-Westerners, (loving their big proportions,)
Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat,
A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest,
A novice beginning yet experient of myriads of seasons,
Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion,
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker,
Prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.

I resist any thing better than my own diversity,
Breathe the air but leave plenty after me,
And am not stuck up, and am in my place.

(The moth and the fish-eggs are in their place,
The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in their place,
The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place.)

These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing.

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe.

With music strong I come, with my cornets and my drums,
I play not marches for accepted victors only, I play marches for conquer’d and slain persons.

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day?
I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.

I beat and pound for the dead,
I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest for them.

Vivas to those who have fail’d!
And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea!
And to those themselves who sank in the sea!
And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes!
And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known!

This is the meal equally set, this the meat for natural hunger,
It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous, I make appointments with all,
I will not have a single person slighted or left away,
The kept-woman, sponger, thief, are hereby invited,
The heavy-lipp’d slave is invited, the venerealee is invited;
There shall be no difference between them and the rest.

This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of hair,
This the touch of my lips to yours, this the murmur of yearning,
This the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face,
This the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet again.

Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has.

Do you take it I would astonish?
Does the daylight astonish? does the early redstart twittering through the woods?
Do I astonish more than they?

This hour I tell things in confidence,
I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.

Who goes there? hankering, gross, mystical, nude;
How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat?

What is a man anyhow? what am I? what are you?

All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,
Else it were time lost listening to me.

I do not snivel that snivel the world over,
That months are vacuums and the ground but wallow and filth.

Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids, conformity goes to the fourth-remov’d,
I wear my hat as I please indoors or out.

Why should I pray? why should I venerate and be ceremonious?

Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel’d with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.

In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.

I know I am solid and sound,
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.

I know I am deathless,
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s compass,
I know I shall not pass like a child’s carlacue cut with a burnt stick at night.

I know I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize,
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all.)

I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.

One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.

My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite,
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.

I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.

I chant the chant of dilation or pride,
We have had ducking and deprecating about enough,
I show that size is only development.

Have you outstript the rest? are you the President?
It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on.

I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,
I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night.

Press close bare-bosom’d night—press close magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south winds—night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night—mad naked summer night.

Smile O voluptuous cool-breath’d earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset—earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbow’d earth—rich apple-blossom’d earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.

Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love!
O unspeakable passionate love.

You sea! I resign myself to you also—I guess what you mean,
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers,
I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me,
We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,
Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you.

Sea of stretch’d ground-swells,
Sea breathing broad and convulsive breaths,
Sea of the brine of life and of unshovell’d yet always-ready graves,
Howler and scooper of storms, capricious and dainty sea,
I am integral with you, I too am of one phase and of all phases.

Partaker of influx and efflux I, extoller of hate and conciliation,
Extoller of amies and those that sleep in each others’ arms.

I am he attesting sympathy,
(Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house that supports them?)

I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also.

What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,
My gait is no fault-finder’s or rejecter’s gait,
I moisten the roots of all that has grown.

Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging pregnancy?
Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work’d over and rectified?

I find one side a balance and the antipodal side a balance,
Soft doctrine as steady help as stable doctrine,
Thoughts and deeds of the present our rouse and early start.

This minute that comes to me over the past decillions,
There is no better than it and now.

What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such a wonder,
The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel.

Endless unfolding of words of ages!
And mine a word of the modern, the word En-Masse.

A word of the faith that never balks,
Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time absolutely.

It alone is without flaw, it alone rounds and completes all,
That mystic baffling wonder alone completes all.

I accept Reality and dare not question it,
Materialism first and last imbuing.

Hurrah for positive science! long live exact demonstration!
Fetch stonecrop mixt with cedar and branches of lilac,
This is the lexicographer, this the chemist, this made a grammar of the old cartouches,
These mariners put the ship through dangerous unknown seas.
This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a mathematician.

Gentlemen, to you the first honors always!
Your facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,
I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling.

Less the reminders of properties told my words,
And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication,
And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt,
And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire.

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,
No more modest than immodest.

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index.

I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms.

Through me many long dumb voices,
Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves,
Voices of the diseas’d and despairing and of thieves and dwarfs,
Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,
And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,
And of the rights of them the others are down upon,
Of the deform’d, trivial, flat, foolish, despised,
Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.

Through me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil’d and I remove the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur’d.

I do not press my fingers across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.

I believe in the flesh and the appetites,
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.

Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds.

If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,
Translucent mould of me it shall be you!
Shaded ledges and rests it shall be you!
Firm masculine colter it shall be you!
Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you!
You my rich blood! your milky stream pale strippings of my life!
Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you!
My brain it shall be your occult convolutions!
Root of wash’d sweet-flag! timorous pond-snipe! nest of guarded duplicate eggs! it shall be you!
Mix’d tussled hay of head, beard, brawn, it shall be you!
Trickling sap of maple, fibre of manly wheat, it shall be you!
Sun so generous it shall be you!
Vapors lighting and shading my face it shall be you!
You sweaty brooks and dews it shall be you!
Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you!
Hands I have taken, face I have kiss’d, mortal I have ever touch’d, it shall be you.

I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,
Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,
I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,
Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendship I take again.

That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.

To behold the day-break!
The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows,
The air tastes good to my palate.

Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding,
Scooting obliquely high and low.

Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous prongs,
Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven.

The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,
The heav’d challenge from the east that moment over my head,
The mocking taunt, See then whether you shall be master!

Dazzling and tremendous how quick the sun-rise would kill me,
If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of me.

We also ascend dazzling and tremendous as the sun,
We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the daybreak.

My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.

Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself,
It provokes me forever, it says sarcastically,
Walt you contain enough, why don’t you let it out then?

Come now I will not be tantalized, you conceive too much of articulation,
Do you not know O speech how the buds beneath you are folded?
Waiting in gloom, protected by frost,
The dirt receding before my prophetical screams,
I underlying causes to balance them at last,
My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the meaning of all things,
Happiness, (which whoever hears me let him or her set out in search of this day.)

My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I really am,
Encompass worlds, but never try to encompass me,
I crowd your sleekest and best by simply looking toward you.

Writing and talk do not prove me,
I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face,
With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic.

Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals,
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,
I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following,
Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,
Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals,
The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,
The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing a death-sentence,
The heave’e’yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the refrain of the anchor-lifters,
The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streaking engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color’d lights,
The steam whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,
The slow march play’d at the head of the association marching two and two,
(They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.)

I hear the violoncello, (’tis the young man’s heart’s complaint,)
I hear the key’d cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears,
It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast.

I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera,
Ah this indeed is music—this suits me.

A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,
The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full.

I hear the train’d soprano (what work with hers is this?)
The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies,
It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess’d them,
It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick’d by the indolent waves,
I am cut by bitter and angry hail, I lose my breath,
Steep’d amid honey’d morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death,

At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,
And that we call Being.

To be in any form, what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither,)
If nothing lay more develop’d the quahaug in its callous shell were enough.

Mine is no callous shell,
I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop,
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.

I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy,
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.

Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity,
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,
Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,
My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself,
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs,
Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,
Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,
Depriving me of my best as for a purpose,
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away,
They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the edges of me,
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger,
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me.

The sentries desert every other part of me,
They have left me helpless to a red marauder,
They all come to the headland to witness and assist against me.

I am given up by traitors,
I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,
I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there.

You villain touch! what are you doing? my breath is tight in its throat,
Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me.

Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath’d hooded sharp-tooth’d touch!
Did it make you ache so, leaving me?

Parting track’d by arriving, perpetual payment of perpetual loan,
Rich showering rain, and recompense richer afterward.

Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,
Landscapes projected masculine, full-sized and golden.

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,
The insignificant is as big to me as any,
(What is less or more than a touch?)

Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

(Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,
Only what nobody denies is so.)

A minute and a drop of me settle my brain,
I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and lamps,
And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,
And until one and all shall delight us, and we them.

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’œuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,
And am stucco’d with quadrupeds and birds all over,
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,
But call any thing back again when I desire it.

In vain the speeding or shyness,
In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,
In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder’d bones,
In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes,
In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,
In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky,
In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,
In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,
In vain the razor-bill’d auk sails far north to Labrador,
I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.

I wonder where they get those tokens,
Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?

Myself moving forward then and now and forever,
Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,
Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,
Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,
Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms.

A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,
Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.

His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.

I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.

Space and Time! now I see it is true, what I guess’d at,
What I guess’d when I loaf’d on the grass,
What I guess’d while I lay alone in my bed,
And again as I walk’d the beach under the paling stars of the morning.

My ties and ballasts leave me, my elbows rest in sea-gaps,
I skirt sierras, my palms cover continents,
I am afoot with my vision.

By the city’s quadrangular houses—in log huts, camping with lumbermen,
Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,
Weeding my onion-patch or hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,
Prospecting, gold-digging, girdling the trees of a new purchase,
Scorch’d ankle-deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down the shallow river,
Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,
Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,
Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou,
Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail;
Over the growing sugar, over the yellow-flower’d cotton plant, over the rice in its low moist field,
Over the sharp-peak’d farm house, with its scallop’d scum and slender shoots from the gutters,
Over the western persimmon, over the long-leav’d corn, over the delicate blue-flower flax,
Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,
Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze;
Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,
Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,
Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the wheat-lot,
Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great gold-bug drops through the dark,
Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,
Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides,
Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;
Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,
Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs,
Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, (floating in it myself and looking composedly down,)
Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,
Where the she-whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it,
Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke,
Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,
Where the half-burn’d brig is riding on unknown currents,
Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below;
Where the dense-starr’d flag is borne at the head of the regiments,
Approaching Manhattan up by the long-stretching island,
Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,
Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside,
Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,
At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,
At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw,
At apple-peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find,
At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;
Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps,
Where the hay-rick stands in the barn-yard, where the dry-stalks are scatter’d, where the brood-cow waits in the hovel,
Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,
Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,
Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie,
Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,
Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long-lived swan is curving and winding,
Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,
Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds,
Where band-neck’d partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads out,
Where burial coaches enter the arch’d gates of a cemetery,
Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees,
Where the yellow-crown’d heron comes to the edge of the marsh at night and feeds upon small crabs,
Where the splash of swimmers and divers cools the warm noon,
Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well,
Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves,
Through the salt-lick or orange glade, or under conical firs,
Through the gymnasium, through the curtain’d saloon, through the office or public hall;
Pleas’d with the native and pleas’d with the foreign, pleas’d with the new and old,
Pleas’d with the homely woman as well as the handsome,
Pleas’d with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet and talks melodiously,
Pleas’d with the tune of the choir of the whitewash’d church,
Pleas’d with the earnest words of the sweating Methodist preacher, impress’d seriously at the camp-meeting;
Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass,
Wandering the same afternoon with my face turn’d up to the clouds, or down a lane or along the beach,
My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle;
Coming home with the silent and dark-cheek’d bush-boy, (behind me he rides at the drape of the day,)
Far from the settlements studying the print of animals’ feet, or the moccasin print,
By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient,
Nigh the coffin’d corpse when all is still, examining with a candle;
Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure,
Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and fickle as any,
Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him,
Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,
Walking the old hills of Judæa with the beautiful gentle God by my side,
Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars,
Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles,
Speeding with tail’d meteors, throwing fire-balls like the rest,
Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly,
Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning,
Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,
I tread day and night such roads.

I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,
And look at quintillions ripen’d and look at quintillions green.

I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,
My course runs below the soundings of plummets.

I help myself to material and immaterial,
No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me.

I anchor my ship for a little while only,
My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns to me.

I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue.

I ascend to the foretruck,
I take my place late at night in the crow’s-nest,
We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough,
Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty,
The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions,
The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them,
We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged,
We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution,
Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin’d city,
The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe.

I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires,
I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself,
I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips.

My voice is the wife’s voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs,
They fetch my man’s body up dripping and drown’d.

I understand the large hearts of heroes,
The courage of present times and all times,
How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,
How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,
And chalk’d in large letters on a board,
Be of good cheer, we will not desert you;
How he follow’d with them and tack’d with them three days and would not give it up,
How he saved the drifting company at last,
How the lank loose-gown’d women look’d when boated from the side of their prepared graves,
How the silent old-faced infants and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp’d unshaved men;
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,
I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there.

The disdain and calmness of martyrs,
The mother of old, condemn’d for a witch, burnt with dry wood, her children gazing on,
The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence, blowing, cover’d with sweat,
The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buckshot and the bullets,
All these I feel or am.

I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs,
Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marksmen,
I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinn’d with the ooze of my skin,
I fall on the weeds and stones,
The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close,
Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks.

Agonies are one of my changes of garments,
I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person,
My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.

I am the mash’d fireman with breast-bone broken,
Tumbling walls buried me in their debris,
Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades,
I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels,
They have clear’d the beams away, they tenderly lift me forth.

I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake,
Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy,
White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps,
The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches.

Distant and dead resuscitate,
They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself.

I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort’s bombardment,
I am there again.

Again the long roll of the drummers,
Again the attacking cannon, mortars,
Again to my listening ears the cannon responsive.

I take part, I see and hear the whole,
The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aim’d shots,
The ambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip,
Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs,
The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion,
The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air.

Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand,
He gasps through the clot
Mind not me—mind—the entrenchments.

Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth,
(I tell not the fall of Alamo,
Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,)
’Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of four hundred and twelve young men.

Retreating they had form’d in a hollow square with their baggage for breastworks,
Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy’s, nine times their number, was the price they took in advance,
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,
They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv’d writing and seal, gave up their arms and march’d back prisoners of war.

They were the glory of the race of rangers,
Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,
Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate,
Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,
Not a single one over thirty years of age.

The second First-day morning they were brought out in squads and massacred, it was beautiful early summer,
The work commenced about five o’clock and was over by eight.

None obey’d the command to kneel,
Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and straight,
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead lay together,
The maim’d and mangled dug in the dirt, the new-comers saw them there,
Some half-kill’d attempted to crawl away,
These were despatch’d with bayonets or batter’d with the blunts of muskets,
A youth not seventeen years old seiz’d his assassin till two more came to release him,
The three were all torn and cover’d with the boy’s blood.

At eleven o’clock began the burning of the bodies;
That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men.

Would you hear of an old-time sea-fight?
Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars?
List to the yarn, as my grandmother’s father the sailor told it to me.

Our foe was no skulk in his ship I tell you, (said he,)
His was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher or truer, and never was, and never will be;
Along the lower’d eve he came horribly raking us.

We closed with him, the yards entangled, the cannon touch’d,
My captain lash’d fast with his own hands.

We had receiv’d some eighteen pound shots under the water,
On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at the first fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead.

Fighting at sun-down, fighting at dark,
Ten o’clock at night, the full moon well up, our leaks on the gain, and five feet of water reported,
The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold to give them a chance for themselves.

The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels,
They see so many strange faces they do not know whom to trust.

Our frigate takes fire,
The other asks if we demand quarter?
If our colors are struck and the fighting done?

Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain,
We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our part of the fighting.

Only three guns are in use,
One is directed by the captain himself against the enemy’s mainmast,
Two well serv’d with grape and canister silence his musketry and clear his decks.

The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially the main-top,
They hold out bravely during the whole of the action.

Not a moment’s cease,
The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the powder-magazine.

One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought we are sinking.

Serene stands the little captain,
He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low,
His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns.

Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us.

Stretch’d and still lies the midnight,
Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the darkness,
Our vessel riddled and slowly sinking, preparations to pass to the one we have conquer’d,
The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet,
Near by the corpse of the child that serv’d in the cabin,
The dead face of an old salt with long white hair and carefully curl’d whiskers,
The flames spite of all that can be done flickering aloft and below,
The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for duty,
Formless stacks of bodies and bodies by themselves, dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,
Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves,
Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels, strong scent,
A few large stars overhead, silent and mournful shining,
Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore, death-messages given in charge to survivors,
The hiss of the surgeon’s knife, the gnawing teeth of his saw,
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, dull, tapering groan,
These so, these irretrievable.

You laggards there on guard! look to your arms!
In at the conquer’d doors they crowd! I am possess’d!
Embody all presences outlaw’d or suffering,
See myself in prison shaped like another man,
And feel the dull unintermitted pain.

For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,
It is I let out in the morning and barr’d at night.

Not a mutineer walks handcuff’d to jail but I am handcuff’d to him and walk by his side,
(I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with sweat on my twitching lips.)

Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced.

Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp,
My face is ash-color’d, my sinews gnarl, away from me people retreat.

Askers embody themselves in me and I am embodied in them,
I project my hat, sit shame-faced, and beg.

Enough! enough! enough!
Somehow I have been stunn’d. Stand back!
Give me a little time beyond my cuff’d head, slumbers, dreams, gaping,
I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.

That I could forget the mockers and insults!
That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludgeons and hammers!
That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning.

I remember now,
I resume the overstaid fraction,
The grave of rock multiplies what has been confided to it, or to any graves,
Corpses rise, gashes heal, fastenings roll from me.

I troop forth replenish’d with supreme power, one of an average unending procession,
Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines,
Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth,
The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years.

Eleves, I salute you! come forward!
Continue your annotations, continue your questionings.

The friendly and flowing savage, who is he?
Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mastering it?

Is he some Southwesterner rais’d out-doors? is he Kanadian?
Is he from the Mississippi country? Iowa, Oregon, California?
The mountains? prairie-life, bush-life? or sailor from the sea?

Wherever he goes men and women accept and desire him,
They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to them, stay with them.

Behavior lawless as snow-flakes, words simple as grass, uncomb’d head, laughter, and naiveté,
Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and emanations,
They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers,
They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes.

Flaunt of the sunshine I need not your bask—lie over!
You light surfaces only, I force surfaces and depths also.

Earth! you seem to look for something at my hands,
Say, old top-knot, what do you want?

Man or woman, I might tell how I like you, but cannot,
And might tell what it is in me and what it is in you, but cannot,
And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days.

Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,
When I give I give myself.

You there, impotent, loose in the knees,
Open your scarf’d chops till I blow grit within you,
Spread your palms and lift the flaps of your pockets,
I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare,
And any thing I have I bestow.

I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me,
You can do nothing and be nothing but what I will infold you.

To cotton-field drudge or cleaner of privies I lean,
On his right cheek I put the family kiss,
And in my soul I swear I never will deny him.

On women fit for conception I start bigger and nimbler babes.
(This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arrogant republics.)

To any one dying, thither I speed and twist the knob of the door.
Turn the bed-clothes toward the foot of the bed,
Let the physician and the priest go home.

I seize the descending man and raise him with resistless will,
O despairer, here is my neck,
By God, you shall not go down! hang your whole weight upon me.

I dilate you with tremendous breath, I buoy you up,
Every room of the house do I fill with an arm’d force,
Lovers of me, bafflers of graves.

Sleep—I and they keep guard all night,
Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you,
I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself,
And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so.

I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs,
And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help.

I heard what was said of the universe,
Heard it and heard it of several thousand years;
It is middling well as far as it goes—but is that all?

Magnifying and applying come I,
Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters,
Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah,
Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson,
Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha,
In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved,
With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image,
Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,
Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days,
(They bore mites as for unfledg’d birds who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves,)
Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see,
Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house,
Putting higher claims for him there with his roll’d-up sleeves driving the mallet and chisel,
Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation,
Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,
Minding their voices peal through the crash of destruction,
Their brawny limbs passing safe over charr’d laths, their white foreheads whole and unhurt out of the flames;
By the mechanic’s wife with her babe at her nipple interceding for every person born,
Three scythes at harvest whizzing in a row from three lusty angels with shirts bagg’d out at their waists,
The snag-tooth’d hostler with red hair redeeming sins past and to come,
Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery;
What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then,
The bull and the bug never worshipp’d half enough,
Dung and dirt more admirable than was dream’d,
The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes,
The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious;
By my life-lumps! becoming already a creator,
Putting myself here and now to the ambush’d womb of the shadows.

A call in the midst of the crowd,
My own voice, orotund sweeping and final.

Come my children,
Come my boys and girls, my women, household and intimates,
Now the performer launches his nerve, he has pass’d his prelude on the reeds within.

Easily written loose-finger’d chords—I feel the thrum of your climax and close.

My head slues round on my neck,
Music rolls, but not from the organ,
Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine.

Ever the hard unsunk ground,
Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever the air and the ceaseless tides,
Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real,
Ever the old inexplicable query, ever that thorn’d thumb, that breath of itches and thirsts,
Ever the vexer’s
hoot! hoot! till we find where the sly one hides and bring him forth,
Ever love, ever the sobbing liquid of life,
Ever the bandage under the chin, ever the trestles of death.

Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,
To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,
Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going,
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment receiving,
A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming.

This is the city and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets, newspapers, schools,
The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate.

The little plentiful manikins skipping around in collars and tail’d coats,
I am aware who they are, (they are positively not worms or fleas,)
I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me,
What I do and say the same waits for them,
Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them.

I know perfectly well my own egotism,
Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,
And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.

Not words of routine this song of mine,
But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;
This printed and bound book—but the printer and the printing-office boy?
The well-taken photographs—but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms?
The black ship mail’d with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets—but the pluck of the captain and engineers?
In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture—but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there—yet here or next door, or across the way?
The saints and sages in history—but you yourself?
Sermons, creeds, theology—but the fathomless human brain,
And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?

I do not despise you priests, all time, the world over,
My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,
Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern,
Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,
Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun,
Making a fetich of the first rock or stump, powowing with sticks in the circle of obis,
Helping the llama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of the idols,
Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession, rapt and austere in the woods a gymnosophist,
Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran,
Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife, beating the serpent-skin drum,
Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine,
To the mass kneeling or the puritan’s prayer rising, or sitting patiently in a pew,
Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me,
Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,
Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits.

One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey.

Down-hearted doubters dull and excluded,
Frivolous, sullen, moping, angry, affected, dishearten’d, atheistical,
I know every one of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief.

How the flukes splash!
How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood!

Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers,
I take my place among you as much as among any,
The past is the push of you, me, all, precisely the same,
And what is yet untried and afterward is for you, me, all, precisely the same.

I do not know what is untried and afterward,
But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and cannot fail.

Each who passes is consider’d, each who stops is consider’d, not a single one can it fail.

It cannot fail the young man who died and was buried,
Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side,
Nor the little child that peep’d in at the door, and then drew back and was never seen again,
Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall,
Nor him in the poor house tubercled by rum and the bad disorder,
Nor the numberless slaughter’d and wreck’d, nor the brutish koboo call’d the ordure of humanity,
Nor the sacs merely floating with open mouths for food to slip in,
Nor any thing in the earth, or down in the oldest graves of the earth,
Nor any thing in the myriads of spheres, nor the myriads of myriads that inhabit them,
Nor the present, nor the least wisp that is known.

It is time to explain myself—let us stand up.

What is known I strip away,
I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.

The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate?

We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.

Births have brought us richness and variety,
And other births will bring us richness and variety.

I do not call one greater and one smaller,
That which fills its period and place is equal to any.

Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister?
I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,
All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,
(What have I to do with lamentation?)

I am an acme of things accomplish’d, and I an encloser of things to be.

My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,
All below duly travel’d, and still I mount and mount.

Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,
Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,
I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,
And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.

Long I was hugg’d close—long and long.

Immense have been the preparations for me,
Faithful and friendly the arms that have help’d me.

Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,
For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings,
They sent influences to look after what was to hold me.

Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me,
My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it.

For it the nebula cohered to an orb,
The long slow strata piled to rest it on,
Vast vegetables gave it sustenance,
Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care.

All forces have been steadily employ’d to complete and delight me,
Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.

O span of youth! ever-push’d elasticity!
O manhood, balanced, florid and full.

My lovers suffocate me,
Crowding my lips, thick in the pores of my skin,
Jostling me through streets and public halls, coming naked to me at night,
Crying by day Ahoy! from the rocks of the river, swinging and chirping over my head,
Calling my name from flower-beds, vines, tangled underbrush,
Lighting on every moment of my life,
Bussing my body with soft balsamic busses,
Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts and giving them to be mine.

Old age superbly rising! O welcome, ineffable grace of dying days!

Every condition promulges not only itself, it promulges what grows after and out of itself,
And the dark hush promulges as much as any.

I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems,
And all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems.

Wider and wider they spread, expanding, always expanding,
Outward and outward and forever outward.

My sun has his sun and round him obediently wheels,
He joins with his partners a group of superior circuit,
And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest inside them.

There is no stoppage and never can be stoppage,
If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail in the long run,
We should surely bring up again where we now stand,
And surely go as much farther, and then farther and farther.

A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span or make it impatient,
They are but parts, any thing is but a part.

See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that,
Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that.

My rendezvous is appointed, it is certain,
The Lord will be there and wait till I come on perfect terms,
The great Camerado, the lover true for whom I pine will be there.

I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.

Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.

This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look’d at the crowded heaven,
And I said to my spirit
When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill’d and satisfied then?
And my spirit said
No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond.

You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.

Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.

I am the teacher of athletes,
He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the width of my own,
He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.

The boy I love, the same becomes a man not through derived power, but in his own right,
Wicked rather than virtuous out of conformity or fear,
Fond of his sweetheart, relishing well his steak,
Unrequited love or a slight cutting him worse than sharp steel cuts,
First-rate to ride, to fight, to hit the bull’s eye, to sail a skiff, to sing a song or play on the banjo,
Preferring scars and the beard and faces pitted with small-pox over all latherers,
And those well-tann’d to those that keep out of the sun.

I teach straying from me, yet who can stray from me?
I follow you whoever you are from the present hour,
My words itch at your ears till you understand them.

I do not say these things for a dollar or to fill up the time while I wait for a boat,
(It is you talking just as much as myself, I act as the tongue of you,
Tied in your mouth, in mine it begins to be loosen’d.)

I swear I will never again mention love or death inside a house,
And I swear I will never translate myself at all, only to him or her who privately stays with me in the open air.

If you would understand me go to the heights or water-shore,
The nearest gnat is an explanation, and a drop or motion of waves a key,
The maul, the oar, the hand-saw, second my words.

No shutter’d room or school can commune with me,
But roughs and little children better than they.

The young mechanic is closest to me, he knows me well,
The woodman that takes his axe and jug with him shall take me with him all day,
The farm-boy ploughing in the field feels good at the sound of my voice,
In vessels that sail my words sail, I go with fishermen and seamen and love them.

The soldier camp’d or upon the march is mine,
On the night ere the pending battle many seek me, and I do not fail them,
On that solemn night (it may be their last) those that know me seek me.

My face rubs to the hunter’s face when he lies down alone in his blanket,
The driver thinking of me does not mind the jolt of his wagon,
The young mother and old mother comprehend me,
The girl and the wife rest the needle a moment and forget where they are,
They and all would resume what I have told them.

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.

And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me.

To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes,
I see the elder-hand pressing receiving supporting,
I recline by the sills of the exquisite flexible doors,
And mark the outlet, and mark the relief and escape.

And as to you Corpse I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me,
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing,
I reach to the leafy lips, I reach to the polish’d breasts of melons.

And as to you Life I reckon you are the leavings of many deaths,
(No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before.)

I hear you whispering there O stars of heaven,
O suns—O grass of graves—O perpetual transfers and promotions,
If you do not say any thing how can I say any thing?

Of the turbid pool that lies in the autumn forest,
Of the moon that descends the steeps of the soughing twilight,
Toss, sparkles of day and dusk—toss on the black stems that decay in the muck,
Toss to the moaning gibberish of the dry limbs.

I ascend from the moon, I ascend from the night,
I perceive that the ghastly glimmer is noonday sunbeams reflected,
And debouch to the steady and central from the offspring great or small.

There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but I know it is in me.

Wrench’d and sweaty—calm and cool then my body becomes,
I sleep—I sleep long.

I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word unsaid,
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.

Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on,
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me.

Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my brothers and sisters.

Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is Happiness.

The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
Source: Leaves of Grass (final "Death-Bed" edition, 1891-2) (David McKay, 1892)

"Moon Cannot Be Stolen" – Zen Parable

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. 
Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” 
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.  Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.” 

"Quotes About Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse

“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun's melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Most people...are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Whether it is good or evil, whether life in itself is pain or pleasure, whether it is uncertain-that it may perhaps be this is not important-but the unity of the world, the coherence of all events, the embracing of the big and the small from the same stream, from the same law of cause, of becoming and dying.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“...and the vessel was not full, his intellect was not satisfied, his soul was not at peace, his heart was not still.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“...for you know that soft is stronger than hard, water stronger than rock, love stronger than force." Vesadeva to Siddartha”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Siddhartha has one single goal-to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow-to let the Self die. No longer to be Self, to experience the peace of an emptied heart, to experience pure thought-that was his goal.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“I felt knowledge and the unity of the world circulate in me like my own blood.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“You show the world as a complete, unbroken chain, an eternal chain, linked together by cause and effect.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“There is, so I believe, in the essence of everything, something that we cannot call learning. There is, my friend, only a knowledge-that is everywhere, that is Atman, that is in me and you and in every creature, and I am beginning to believe that this knowledge has no worse enemy than the man of knowledge, than learning.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“Yes Siddhartha,' he said. 'Is this what you mean: that the river is in all places at once, at its source and where it flows into the sea, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the ocean, in the mountains, everywhere at once, so for the river there is only the present moment and not the shadow of the future?'

'It is,' Siddhartha said.'And once I learned this I considered my life, and it too was a river, and the boy Siddhartha was separated from the man Siddhartha and the graybeard Siddhartha only by shadows, not by real things. ... Nothing was, nothing will be; everything is, everything has being and presence.”
Hermann Hesse

“But of all the water's secrets, he saw today only a single one-one that struck his soul. He saw that this water flowed and flowed, it was constantly flowing, and yet it was always there; it was always eternally the same and yet new at every moment! Oh, to be able to grasp this, to understand this!”
Hermann Hesse

“Never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“He sat thus, lost in meditation, thinking Om, his soul as the arrow directed at Brahman.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Were not the gods forms created like me and you, mortal, transient?”
Hermann Hesse

“And so Gotama wandered into the town to obtain alms, and the two Samanas recognized him only by his complete peacefulness of demeanor, by the stillness of his form, in which there was no seeking, no will, no counterfeit, no effort - only light and peace.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people -- eternal life. It is not possible for one person to see how far another is on the way; the Buddha exists in the robber and dice player; the robber exists in the Brahmin.”
Hermann Hesse

"Flight from the Shadow" by Chuang Tzu

There was a man
who was so disturbed
by the sight of his own shadow
and so displeased
with his own footsteps,
that he determined to get rid of both.
The method he hit upon was
to run away from them.
So he got up and ran.
But everytime he poot his foot down
there was another step,
while his shadow kept up with him
without the slightest difficulty.
He attributed his failure
to the fact
that he was not running fast enough.
So he ran faster and faster,
without stopping,
until he finally dropped dead.
He failed to realize
that if he merely stepped into the shade,
his shadow would vanish,
and if he sat down and stayed still,
there would be no more footsteps.

"Love Flies" — Bei Kuan-tu

Evening Tide
"Evening Tide" by Julie Sauer

Emptiness has a way of slowing the mind to a standstill.
Vastness does quite the same.
The Tao is emptiness and vastness
In such a place Love flies like a lone bird.

© 2012 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

"Enlightenment is Like the Moon" by Dogen

"Harvest Moon"

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
Although its light is wide and great,
The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky
Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.


"For Síle  by Wei Wu Wei


When the beetle sees, it is I that am looking,
When the nightingale sings, it is I that am singing,
When the lion roars, it is I that am roaring.

But when I look for myself, I can see nothing --
 for no thing is there to be seen.

Síle cannot see me either, for when she tries to see me it is
 I who am looking: she can do nothing -- for only I can do anything.
The beetle can say that also, and Síle, for we are not three,
  nor two, nor one.

I am the sea too, and the stars, the wind and the rain,
I am everything that has form -- for form is my seeing of it.
I am every sound -- for sound is my hearing of it,
I am all flavours, each perfume, whatever can be touched,
For that which is perceptible is my perceiving of it,
And all sentience is mine.

They have no other existence, and neither have I --
for what they are I am, and what I am they are.
What the universe is I am, and what I am the universe is.
And there is no
other at all, nor any one whatsover. 

"Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann

----Painting by Zohar

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


"Freedom" by Bei Kuan-tu

Dance of Freedom” by Reza Sepahdari

Do you know what freedom is?
An exiting of the 'nest of knowing',
a burrowing beyond what is,
soaring into life's uncharted mysteries.

Freedom is color transcending its earthy palette,
sun penetrating shadows.

Freedom is where thought gives way,
like dew co-mingling with light.

Freedom is the extinguishing of all concepts,
awakening to vastness
to a windless silent sea.

Freedom is what we have unknowingly
always known.

© 2013 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved

"The Song of the Bird" — Anthony de Mello

Detail of singing Common Yellowthroat, an original gouache painting by David Sibley

The disciples were full of questions about God.

Said the Master, “God is Unknown, the Unknowable. Every statement about Him, every answer to your questions, is a distortion of the Truth.”

The disciples were bewildered. “Then why do you speak about Him at all?”

“Why does the bird sing?” said the Master.
Not because he has a statement, but because he has a song.
The words of the Scholar are to be understood. The words of the Master are not to be understood. They are to be listened to as one listens to the wind in the trees and the sound of the river and the song of the bird. They will awaken something within the heart that is beyond all knowledge.


"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

“Prayer to the self” by Swami Venkatesananda

“Prayer to the self”
by Swami Venkatesananda

When the intelligence is free
from the cloud of ego-sense
and from the thunderstorm of cravings,
it shines with the light of self-knowledge.
O self, free from the mire of ego-sense,
salutations to you.
O self, in whom the fearsome senses
and all-consuming mind
have attained quiescence,
salutations to you.
O self, the sun that dispels the darkness of ignorance in the heart, salutations to you.
O self, the promoter of supreme love
and the sustainer of all things in the universe,
salutations to you.
Even as steel cuts the steel-beam
which has been heated,
I have subdued the mind
with its own purified state.
Egolessly, my body functions with its inherent energy.
The past tendencies, mental conditioning and limitations
have been completely destroyed.
I begin to wonder: how was it that for such a long time
I was caught up in the trap of the ego-sense!
Freed from dependency,
from habits of thought,
from desires and cravings,
from deluded belief in the existence of the ego,
from the coloring of pleasure-seeking tendency
and from revelry —
my mind has reached a state of utter quiescence.
With this, all sorrow has come to an end
and the light of supreme bliss has dawned!
The Concise Yoga Vasistha, On Dissolution    
Swami Venkatesananda,  p. 195.

This poem was given me as a gift by a dear friend Marty who walks with wisdom and depth of heart.
—Bei Kuan-tu

"Pathways" by Mark Nepo

Fence pathway-79c364d01d9f1bb25e80def9673aab57
---"Fence Pathway" by Drew Hendsbee

I don’t know why I was born

with this belief in something
deeper and larger than we can
But it’s always called.
Even as
a boy,
I knew that trees and light
and sky
all point to some timeless
center out of view.
I have spent my
listening to that center
and filtering
it through my heart.
This listening

and filtering
is the music of my soul,

of all souls.
After sixty years,
I’ve run

out of ways to name this.
Even now,
my heart won’t stand still.
In a moment
of seeing,
it takes the shape of
my eye.
In a moment of speaking,
the shape of my tongue.
In a moment of
it slips back into the lake of
When you kiss me,
it takes
the shape of your lip.
When our dog
sleeps with us,
it takes the shape of
her curl.
When the hummingbird
feeds her baby,
it takes the shape
of her beak
carefully dropping
food into our throats.



"Through a Window" by Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall-image

There are many windows through
which we can look out into the
world, searching for meaning …
… Most of us, when we ponder on the
meaning of our existence,
peer through but one of these
windows onto the world.
And even that one is often misted over
by the breath of our finite humanity.
We clear a tiny peephole and stare through.
No wonder we are confused by the
tiny fraction of a whole that we see.
It is, after all, like trying to
comprehend the panorama of the
desert or the sea through
a rolled-up newspaper.

—Jane Goodall, Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe (Mariner Books, New York, 2010)

"Bashert" — Definition

- A person's soulmate, or "it was meant to be,” considered as predestined.  
(feminine - basherte):

- “Oneness" in their past, present, and future is thus what defines a truly predestined (bashert) couple. They share a common soul-root (their past), common goals (their future), and always (in the present) remember their common origin as they proceed toward their common goalSOURCE:


Bashert, (Yiddish: באַשערט), is a Yiddish word that means "destiny". It is often used in the context of one's divinely foreordained spouse or soulmate, who is called "basherte" (female) or "basherter" (male). It can also be used to express the seeming fate or destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening.


- In modern usage, Jewish singles will say that they are looking for their bashert, meaning they are looking for that person who will complement them perfectly, and whom they will complement perfectly.


- A more useful term than "bashert" might be "zvug," A "zvug" is a true (and only) life partner, the person who actually completes the other.


- Bashert, which in Yiddish means “predestined,” is most commonly applied to the concept of one’s intended soul-mate. This idea that, when dating, one is searching for his/her bashert, his/her divinely intended life partner, stems from Sotah 2a, which states: “Forty days before the creation of a child, a Heavenly Voice issues forth and proclaims: ‘The daughter of A is for B.’”


- The concept of bashert implies that the person one will marry is preordained even before birth. There are a great number of discussions that stem from this concept: questions concerning dating, marriage, bad marriages, divorce, second marriages....But the question Jewish theologians wish to address today is the broader understanding of the concept of bashert.

- Those pieces of our lives that are “pre-determined” may be related to one’s wealth, the country in which one lives or the person one marries. And while we may never know why these points of bashert happen, they are often important aspects of a greater story.


- The Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) speaks of husband and wife as “plag nishmasa – half souls”. And Nachmanides explains in his Emunah U’Bitachon (Chapter 24) that God takes the soul whose time has come for it to enter into this world, and separates it into two halves, placing one half in the male and one half in the female. And when these two halves meet again in matrimony, their original connection and love bond comes back.


"L'Amour et Psyche, enfants" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. 1890


a translation of Hans Christian Andersen's “Keiserens Nye Klæder" by Jean Hersholt

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, "The King's in council," here they always said. "The Emperor's in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

"Those would be just the clothes for me," thought the Emperor. "If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away." He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.
They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth," the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn't have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he'd rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth's peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," the Emperor decided. "He'll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he's a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

"Heaven help me," he thought as his eyes flew wide open, "I can't see anything at all". But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."

"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting." The old minister peered through his spectacles. "Such a pattern, what colors!" I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

"We're pleased to hear that," the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn't see anything.

"Isn't it a beautiful piece of goods?" the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

"I know I'm not stupid," the man thought, "so it must be that I'm unworthy of my good office. That's strange. I mustn't let anyone find it out, though." So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, "It held me spellbound."

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

"Magnificent," said the two officials already duped. "Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!" They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.
"What's this?" thought the Emperor. "I can't see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! - Oh! It's 
very pretty," he said. "It has my highest approval." And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn't see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, "Oh! It's 
very pretty," and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead.

"Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!" were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of "Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor's new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, "Now the Emperor's new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, "These are the trousers, here's the coat, and this is the mantle," naming each garment. "All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that's what makes them so fine.”

"Exactly," all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

"If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off," said the swindlers, "we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something - that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

"How well Your Majesty's new clothes look. Aren't they becoming!" He heard on all sides, "That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: "Your Majesty's canopy is waiting outside.”

"Well, I'm supposed to be ready," the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. "It is a remarkable fit, isn't it?" He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.

"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on.”

"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.
The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.


A translation of Hans Christian Andersen's “Keiserens Nye Klæder"
Jean Hersholt


"Where is the Tao?" by Derek Lin in Chuang Tzu Stories

TRADITIONAL - zhuangzi
One day, a scholar by the name of Donguozi asked Chuang Tzu: “That which we call the Tao — where is it?”
The two of them were outside, and Chuang Tzu said: “Everywhere. There is no place where the Tao isn’t.”
Donguozi didn’t quite understand this, so he asked: “Can you be more specific and point it out for me?”
Chuang Tzu looked around and saw ants crawling underfoot, so he pointed to them: “The Tao is among these ants.”
This surprised Donguozi. He asked: “Why such a lowly place?”
Chuang Tzu pointed to a blade of grass: “The Tao is in the weeds.”
This puzzled Donguozi. The ants at least could move around. You couldn’t say that about the grass! He asked: “Aren’t the weeds even more lowly than the ants?”
Chuang Tzu pointed to some discarded construction material: “See that clay tile? The Tao is in it.”
This puzzled Donguozi even more. He asked: “Why do you keep going lower and lower? At least the ants and weeds are alive. The clay tile is a dead thing!”
Chuang Tzu pointed to a pile of manure: “The Tao is in urine and defecation.”
Donguozi’s puzzlement turned into frustration. He closed his mouth and said nothing more.

The Tao
This story inspires deeper thinking. On the surface, it seems like the Tao is nothing special, since it is everywhere, even in places that appear to be worthless or insignificant. Beneath the surface, what Chuang Tzu is really saying is that the Tao is all the more incredible precisely because it is everywhere. The Tao is not limited in where it can be. We can find it not only in the holiest places, but also the lowliest — and everywhere in between.

Most people divide up the world into categories and rank them against one another. To them, it makes sense that some places and things should be set aside for special treatment, while others should be cast aside to be ignored or ridiculed. Therefore, the Tao should be reserved for temples and sites of religious significance, and if the Tao is to be represented in a statue or sculpture, then it should be made of the most precious material available.

The thinking of the sage is the complete opposite. To a sage, the entire world is one sacred creation, and everything in it comes from the same sacred source. Places and things may appear different in human perception, but all partake in the essential oneness of the totality. Everything is connected with everything else — birth is connected to death, survival is connected to elimination, living organisms are connected to inorganic objects, and so on. A flower cannot live on by itself, separate from its roots that dig deeply into the mud. Thus, when Tao cultivators appreciate the beauty of the flower, they recognize also the goodness inherent in all other parts of the plant, and the soil that gives it life. Everything about the flower, not just its petals, has its own special beauty.

Today, the sage’s way of perceiving the world is still not widely understood. We may be far more technically advanced than the people of ancient China, but we haven’t advanced much at all in terms of our essential nature. Thus, it is very common that when people refer to the divine, they look up or point up to the sky, or they talk about “the man upstairs.”

Tao cultivators know the truth that transcends the mundane mind. The divine is not just up in the sky; it is also all around us and below us. It is inside and outside of us; it extends in every direction. God is not a man, and lives not just upstairs, but also downstairs and in every room simultaneously. The divine manifests not just in every nook and cranny inside the house, but also everywhere outside the house. To look only to the heavens is to limit that which cannot be limited in the first place.

The end of the story depicted the dramatic difference that the Tao can make in one’s life. People who do not understand the Tao fail to see anything special in everyday things, unless they are highly valued in terms of material wealth. The focus and pursuit of such values never leads to happiness, and that is why they are often beset with annoyance and frustration.

You do not need to think as they do. When you understand the Tao, you become more like Chuang Tzu. You see the Tao everywhere, so you can experience the exquisite essence of existence. You do not need to search anywhere for the Tao, since it is right in front of you no matter where you turn. You live each day surrounded by the mystery and miracle of life itself. This is why you are often smiling — your smile comes from the joy within, and from your appreciation for the incredible beauty of it all.

Derek Lin-screenshot_679
Chuang Tzu Stories

Derek Lin is an award-winning, bestselling author in the Tao genre. He was born in Taiwan and grew up with native fluency in both Chinese and English. His background lets him convey Eastern teachings to Western readers in a way that is clear, simple and authentic.


Micah Monk 05 - Solitude is a drawing by Lori Grimmett

“Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means “be darkness to my experience,” but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice and I will hear all harmonies You have created, singing Your hymns. Sheep’s wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to Your poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory. Therefore keep me, above all things, from sin. Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul. Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart. Keep me from the sins that eat a man’s flesh with irresistible fire until he is devoured. Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice and ambition that suffocate my life. Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal. Stanch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hungers that exhaust my nature with their bleeding. Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy. Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth. Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice. But give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone. For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone.”

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

"Where is God?" by Rumi


I tried to find Him on the Christian cross,
but He was not there;
I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagoda,
but I could not find a trace of Him anywhere.

I searched the mountains and the valleys
but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I able to find Him.
I went to the Kaaba in Mecca,
but He was not there either.

I questioned the scholars and philosophers,
but He was beyond their understanding.

I then looked into my heart
and it was there where He dwelled that I saw him;
He was nowhere else to be found.

—Jalaluddin Rumi

"Disturb Us Lord" by Sir Francis Drake


Disturb us, Lord, when
we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true
because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrived safely
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
we have lost our thirst
for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision
of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
to venture on wider seas
where storms will show your mastery;
where losing sight of land,
we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
the horizons of our hopes;
and to push into the future
in strength, courage, hope, and love.

— Sir Francis Drake -1577


Prayer "DEAR JESUS" - John Henry Cardinal Newman

Dear Jesus [or Buddha, the Divine, the Spirit, God, the Christ…],
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me
That every soul I come in contact with
May feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus [the Christ]!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be a light to others;
The light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be you, shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

by John Henry Cardinal Newman

"The River" by Herman Hesse

I am only a ferryman and it is my task to take people across this river. I have taken thousands of people across and to all of them my river has been nothing but a hindrance on their journey. They have travelled for money and business, to weddings and on pilgrimages; the river has been in their way and the ferryman was there to take them quickly across the obstacle. However, amongst the thousands there have been a few, four of five, to whom the river was not a obstacle. They have heard its voice and listened to it, and the river has become holy to them, as it has to me. "Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.


"The Explorer" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The explorer returned to his people, who were eager to know about the Amazon. But how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded his heart when he saw exotic flowers and heard the night-sounds of the forest; when he sensed the danger of wild beasts or paddled his canoe over treacherous rapids?

He said, “Go and find out for yourselves. "
To guide them
he drew a map of the river.
They pounced upon the map.
They framed it in their town hall.
They made copies of it for themselves.
And all who had a copy
considered themselves experts on the river,
for did they not know its every turn and bend,
how broad it was and how deep,
where the rapids were and where the falls?

Commentary: It is said that Buddha obdurately refused to be drawn into talking about God.



"Trees are Sanctuaries" by Herman Hesse (Sep 19, 2016)


Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. 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.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.



The Golden Eternity" by Jack Kerouac

The Golden Eternity
Jack Kerouac

I have lots of things to share now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect.

The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks don't see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my wood-stove
making pancakes.


"The Fallacy of Togetherness" by Osho

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Photo by Thomas Leuthard

Make friends with those who are on the path at least as much as you are. If they do not take you forward, at least they do not become a reason to move you backward on your quest. If this is not possible, just walk alone. The companionship of fools is not good. Remember one thing, you have come alone in this world and will leave this world alone. The togetherness ideal is just a way to make you feel better. That is why it is important to learn the art of solitude. In the company of a person who has gone deeper into themselves, you will feel their company as well as solitude.

Crowds are formed by people who are focused on the external. It’s a miracle to see that there are no crowds to be seen when you are with people who are focused in and within themselves. If ten internally focused individuals are sitting in a room, it is not that there are ten internally focused individuals sitting. It is each individual sitting by themselves, thereby not forming a crowd.

Internally focused people don’t make bridges to the outside. If there are ten externally focused people sitting, there not a crowd of ten people – it is a crowd of ten thousand. This is because each individual is connecting with the other ten and so on. Thousands of relationships are been forged. Even if internally focused people are together, they leave each other alone. The best company is offered from people who allow you to be alone even while you are with them. The people worth developing company with are people who let your solitude retain its purity. Reflection can only happen in solitude.

The naturalness and nakedness of your solitude maintains its pristine state. Your aloneness, your silence remains untouched and pure. They respect your boundaries and do not become a reason for disturbing your solitude. They provide company, one which does not invade your space. When you call them, they come near to you. Only as near as you call them and no more.

They leave you alone when you want to go inside of yourself.


A Spiritual Conspiracy by Author Unknown

Spiritual Conspiracy
On the surface of the Earth exactly now there is war and violence and everything looks horrible.  But, simultaneously, something quiet, calm and hidden is happening and certain people are being called by a higher light. A quiet revolution is settling from the inside out.  From bottom to top. It is a global operation. A spiritual conspiracy. There are cells from this operation in every nation on the planet.

You will not watch us on TV. Or read about us in newspapers.  Or hear our words on radios. We do not seek glory.  We do not use uniforms. We arrive in several different shapes and sizes. We have costumes and different colors. Most work anonymously.  Silently we work out of the scene. In every culture in the world. In large and small cities, in the mountains and valleys. In the farms, villages, tribes and remote islands.

We might cross paths on the streets. And not realize … We follow in disguise. We are behind the scenes. And we do not care about who wins the gold of the result, and Yes, that the work gets performed. And once in a while we will cross paths on the streets. We exchange looks of recognition and continue following our path. During the day many are disguised in their normal jobs. But at night behind the scenes, the real work begins.

Some call us army of consciousness. Slowly we are building a new world.  With the power of our hearts and minds. We follow with joy and passion. Our orders reach us from the Central Spiritual Intelligence. We’re throwing soft bombs of love without anyone noticing; poems, Hugs, songs, photos, movies, fond words, meditations and prayers, dances, social activism, websites, blogs, acts of kindness …

We express ourselves in a unique and personal way. With our talents and gifts. Being the change we want to see in the world. This is the force that moves our hearts. We know that this is the only way to accomplish the transformation.  We know that with the silence and humbleness we have the power of all oceans together. Our work is slow and meticulous. As in the formation of mountains.

Love will be the religion of the 21 century. Without educational prerequisites. Without ordering an exceptional knowledge for your understanding. Because it is born of the intelligence of the heart. Hidden for eternity in the evolutionary pulse of every human being.
Be the change you want to see happen in the world.  Nobody else can make this work for you.

We’re recruiting.  Perhaps you will join us.  Or maybe you have already joined.  All are welcome. The door is open.


"Confucius Quotes"

confucius Quotes-757900_400x400

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Confucius, Confucius: The Analects

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

“To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”

“When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.”

“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.”

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.”

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
Confucius, The Book of Rites

“It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.”

“The man of wisdom is never of two minds;
the man of benevolence never worries;
the man of courage is never afraid.”

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

“The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”

“Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.”

“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”

Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others.

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.

To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.

When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. Confucius

"The Waves and the Ocean are One - We and God are One" by Atman Nityananda

The waves are one with the ocean. Both are sea water. The waves are only an expression of the ocean. The ocean is permanent and the waves are impermanent. The ocean is the substratum and the waves the phenomenon that appears due to and in the substratum. But the waves never stop to be the ocean.

Similarly we are a wave in the ocean of bliss-consciousness. We as a human being we are both: the ocean of Bliss-consciousness and as a wave a body-mind entity. 
Between the body and the consciousness arises the ego. The body and ego are insentient, impermanent, changeable and  subject to death. The consciousness is self-existent, sentient, immortal and eternal and is the permanent substratum that appears the impermanent waves - the human beings as a body-mind entity.

Due to the ego we fail to realize that we are not only the impermanent wave (the body-mind entity) but also the ocean of bliss consciousness. 

The ego makes us believe that we are a separate entity with independent existence from its substratum of consciousness, makes us believe that consciousness is a characteristic of the body-mind entity; thus we fail to realize that the consciousness is infinite, unlimited, indestructible and that is the common substratum of all beings, in the same way that the ocean is the common substratum of all waves. 

The water of each wave is the one water of ocean. There are no many waters. There are many waves but only one water which appears as different waves. The one water appears as many waves; each wave-form although may have different shape and dimensions  it is made from the same, the essence of each wave is one and the same seawater.

Similarly the essence of each one of us is the infinite, unlimited bliss-consciousness. There are not many consciousnesses; each being has not his own individual consciousness. The one undivided, unlimited consciousness reflects in the infinite wave-forms (all beings). There are many bodies and many minds; each human being is a different body-wave and a mind-wave, but the one consciousness is the common substratum of all bodies and minds. There is no separation between the us and consciousness and between each other. We are all expressions of the one undivided, unlimited consciousness and we are that consciousness itself. We are both the wave and the ocean, the form and the formless, the finite and tje infinite; tje finite form for a short time and the universal, infinite, consciousness the common background of all appearances for ever.

But the ego creates in us the illusion that consciousness is limited to the body and mind, that we are the body and the mind and consciousness is something individual or personal and different from the consciousness of our fellows.

Thus the whole process of spirituality is to realize that we are not only the wave, but also the ocean, that we are not only the appearance (a limited body-mind form) but also the formless, empty space of consciousness and as a the ocean, we were never born, nor will we ever die. Consciousness is beyond birth and death and change, as well as free from any kind of limitation and suffering; it is an ocean of unlimited peace and bliss.

This realization of oneness of the wave-man with the ocean-consciousness can take place when the factor that creates the illusion of separation (the ego) ceases to exist in us. We can overcome the illusion temporarily with deep meditation and samadhi and permanently by the complete dissolution of the ego. Free from ego we experience always and without a break the bliss and peace eternal of our essence.



"Buddha's Flower Sermon "

"Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.

But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.

The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.

When at last the Buddha came to Mahakasyapa, the disciple smiled, bowed to the Buddha, and said, “I understand”.

And thus, a special transmission of the dharma was given to Mahakasyapa, who Zen Buddhists attribute as the first patriarch of Zen.

Is the Universe Friendly? by Albert Einstein


"I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
"For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
"If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
"But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives."
"God does not play dice with the universe,"
--Albert Einstein


"Surrendering To The Stream" (excerpt) Siddhartha by Herman Hesse


The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. [...]
Siddhartha listened. He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything. He felt that he had now completely learned the art of listening. He'd often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. He could no longer distinguish the different voices--the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice. The all belonged to each other: the lament of those who yearn, the laughter of the wise, the cry of indignation and the groan of the dying. They're all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways. And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life. When Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this song of a thousand voices; when he did not listen to the sorrow or laughter, when he did not bind his soul to any one particular voice and absorb it in his Self, but heard them all, the whole, the unity; then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om -- perfection. […]

From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the string of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of all things.

BUY: 'Siddhartha'
-- by Herman Hesse

"The Formula" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello -


The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like?”

But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?

He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.

They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.

The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.


"Cultivate Well-roundedness" from JamesBaquet.com


It seems the happiest people I know can whoop it up with friends on Saturday night and attend church with great conviction on Sunday.

They can chat with equal amiability with college professors and construction workers, with police officers and prostitutes, with ministers and mine workers.

They can have fun in a disco or on a mountain trail, can be at peace in traffic or in tranquility.

They are all things to all people.

They are, as the Tao recommends, as soft and yielding as water, yet, as it also says, their strength has no equal.

Anyone who sounds one note might not fit the bill.

And yet, in all these situations, happy people are always themselves, never sacrificing who they are for the sake of others.

They contain multitudes.

So that is the final Secret. Look back over the other 364, and find out what sides of yourself might need development. If you only have one tune, master some more. If you only have one way to deal with adversity, learn some others. If you only have one friend, make more!

And, for the last time: You'll be happier.



"Right and Wrong"


When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.

Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.

When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”

A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.


"Thomas Aquinas Stops Writing" - (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD


The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw.”

How could it be otherwise when the scholar becomes a seer?

When the mystic came down from the mountain
he was accosted by the atheist, who said sarcastically, "What did you bring us from that garden of delights you were in?"
The mystic replied,
"I had every intention of filling my skirt with flowers and giving them to my friends on my return.
But while I was there
I became so intoxicated with the fragrance of the garden that I let go of the skirt.”

COMMENTARY: The Zen masters put it succinctly: "The one who knows, does not say. The one who says, does not know."

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"The Wise Woman’s Stone" - Author Unknown

Old Woman Portrait Pencil Drawing
----“Old Woman Portrait Pencil Drawing”
—-by Kelly Green - (visit the Kelly Green Gallery)

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.

—Author Unknown


"Autobiography in Five Chapters" by Portia Nelson
by Portia Nelson

----"Walking Man" Pencil Sketch by Duane Tells

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

Copyright 1993 Portia Nelson, all rights reserved.
Buy her book:
There's a Hole in my Sidewalk The Romance of Self-Discovery

The Book of Serenity - "Dizang’s Planting the Fields"

Two Planting Rice

Dizang asked Xiushan, “Where do you come from?” Xiushan said, “From the South.” Dizang said, “How is Buddhism in the South these days?” Xiushan said, “There is extensive discussion”” Dizang said, “How can that compare to me here planting the fields and making rice to eat?” Xiushan said, “What can you do about the world?” Dizang said, “What do you call the world?”

Time and again during question and answer sessions after a Zen lecture, someone will ask: ‘What is the use of just sitting in silent meditation when there is so much suffering in the world?’ This question is usually meant as a challenge to what seems a kind of passiveness. It is true that the world is full of suffering beings; humans, animals, plants, even the planet itself is deeply suffering. Shouldn’t we be having extensive discussions, protesting, implementing solutions? This koan does for me what I think is the intention of all koans – it stops my mind in mid stride. It brings my awareness to the importance of asking questions before acting. Questions like: What is the nature of suffering and what is its ultimate cause? How can I help a world that I see as separate from myself? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for me to deeply understand how the world is not something ‘out there’ that needs saving? If I consider the way we are all constantly, every moment, making the world then each simple, ordinary action I am able to take right here is ‘doing something about the world.’ And when it is time for other kinds of action, less simple or potentially more widely impactful, it is my intention that these actions will be grounded in not knowing what the world is, or what helping is.

—Rev. Zesho Susan O’Connell (
Zen priest, President of the San Francisco Zen Center)

"The Pointer" — a Zen Story

The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master.
The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game.
On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.

“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth. Here, I’ll show you.”

With that the teacher called his happy dog.
“Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon.
“Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher of the bright pupil.

“He’s looking at your finger.”

“Exactly. Don’t be like my dog.
Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at.
All our Buddhist words are only guideposts.
Every man fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.

"Moving to a New City" (a parable) —Unknown


There was a person coming to a new village, re-locating, and he was wondering if he would like it there, so he went to the zen master and asked: do you think I will like it in this village?
Are the people nice?  

The master asked back: "How were the people on the town where you come from?"  

"They were nasty and greedy, they were angry and lived for cheating and stealing said the newcomer."  

"Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village", said the master.

Another newcomer to the village visited the master and asked the same question, to which the master asked, "How were the people in the town where you come from?"

“They were sweet and lived in harmony, they cared for one another and for the land, they respected each other and they were seekers of spirit,” he replied.

"Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village", said the master.'


"If You Love, Love Openly" — Zen Story

If You Love, Love Openly

Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master.

Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain.
Several monks secretly fell in love with her.
One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.

Eshun did not reply.
The following day the master gave a lecture to the group, and when it was over, Eshun arose.

Addressing the one who had written her, she said: "If you really love me so much, come and embrace me now."

From Zen Flesh Zen Bones


"Taming the Mind" — Zen Parable

---Photo Champ

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.

"There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!"

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.

Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.

"Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target.

"You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."


"Where Can I Find a Man Who Has Forgotten Words?" by Chuang Tzu


“The purpose of a fish trap
is to catch fish,
and when the fish are caught
the trap is forgotten.

The purpose of a rabbit snare
is to catch rabbits.
When the rabbits are caught,
the snare is forgotten.

The purpose of the word
is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are grasped,
the words are forgotten.

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
He is the one I would like to talk to.”

Chuang Tzu


“The Beloved” (from New Mother, New Earth Night Songs) by N

--“Lovers” by Connie Chadwell

“The Beloved”
--by N

My Beloved emerges and
arises from within
divinely created moments
to surprise and startle me awake
from my human slumbering
talks to me in rumbling thunderstorms
in whirling winds
washing away the heat
from parched surfaces
of wilting flowers and thirsty lips
rinsing the dust from the leaves
washing the windows of the world
with dancing raindrops of light
appearing in penetrating minds and insights
in discoveries of truth
arms of expanding love and open hands
that clasp my own

the waters of life clear away
whatever is confining brilliance
dissolving limitation
revealing flashing potential
beyond my knowing

My Beloved soothes my pain
drowns the empty noise
opens my hearing
and sings to me in a thousand songs
of birds and humming insects
blinking in a glowing firefly
catching the gleaming light from flying fish
leaping from the sea
to glimpse the sky

My Beloved plays with words
rearranges meaning
creates new language
enlightens and brightens
with a laugh that shakes the world

My Beloved sometimes hides in a child
who wants to be held
sometimes in a flower that delights my eyes
sometimes an owl outside my window
watching in the night
a soaring hawk
a clumping elephant
a sleek panther
a clumsy pelican with a beak
full of fish
a wild mustang
a clucking chicken showing her chicks
how to scratch for food
an unfolding story told around a fire
flowing in a whispering stream
roaring in a rushing river
circling in a spinning planet
crawling in an ant
slowly building a mound of dirt
to make a home
or peeking wonderfully
out of the soft petals
of the pinkness of a peony

My Beloved
flows in all that
is entertaining and stunning
beautiful and joyful
awkward and new
strange and familiar
compelling and thrilling

I am bewildered
blood stirring
heart racing
in love with such
endearing diversity and range
ever changing
every encircling me with tenderness
humbling me with scarcity
exalting me with abundance
giving birth to a star
scattering seeds
across the universe
to give birth to more

I am enchanted by such infinite love
by revelation
by the gift of creation
by strong arms
flashing eyes
filled with tears
with love that ever amazes
and forever touches my heart
in disarming and charming ways

The storm that awakens me
quiets into gentle raindrops touching
and cradling me
to rest as every drop
becomes a waking dream
that pools and expands
until the dam breaks
flooding the valleys of my being
with endless beauty

My Beloved makes each moment new
sweeping me into feelings
I have never felt before
leaving me reeling
and feeling like a bride
of a forever life
laced with an enhancing
eternal dance
creating a new story
of all that love can be

May it always be so…..


New Mother, New Earth Night Songs


"Trust" by Mooji


Trust is the great key!
First look at what mistrust brings you
then you have a sense of what trust is.
Mistrust shuts you down, hides you away.
Trust opens you up to the fullness of life.

There was a time when ship builders
would carve a figure out of wood at the front of the boat.
I found it so beautiful
—like this, you also are right at the cutting edge of all existence.
And the fierce winds of the sea, the biting salt
and roaring waves are blasting and blowing past,
but this figure is just so still, so majestic and so unperturbed.
It invokes a feeling of trust.

Trust takes you where logic will fail,
trust will sail you over the seas.
It is instinct in us to trust,
But trust must come with wisdom also.
Like with love, they work together and reveal great things
—when you trust in the right thing.

When we are full of ego, our trust is very limited, very weak,
for we are trusting in the wrong thing.
But this we have to taste also,
so when you taste the right things you will know.
Trust reminds you, ‘Don’t panic.’

In life we have been trained and habituated to acting prematurely
because of the fear, ‘If I don’t act quickly, I will miss my chance.
I will miss my change for this job,
or to be married, or to have children,’
so we force ripen ourselves,
and miss the real juice, so to speak.
But wisdom says, ‘Just observe a little,
be very present with yourself.

Don’t encourage superstition or suspicion.
Just rest in your being and observe.
Don’t panic, don’t pull the parachute too quickly.'
Some are pulling the parachute open
when they are still on the ground!

Just hear that voice of wisdom
that tells you to simply to be present
as the uninvolved witness, and it will not go wrong.

Trust gives you the courage to express your heart’s truth.
Know that if you do what is right inside your heart,
it cannot turn out to be wrong for someone else.
They may go, ‘No, no, no,’ but it will turn out just fine.
Trust opens you up to the great things of life.
The greatest is to wake up.
Trust is there, faith is there, courage
—all these they come and make their home in you.

~ Mooji
29 August 2016

Mooji - 654

“Endless Ages” by Bodhidharma


Through endless ages, the mind has never changed.
It has not lived or died, come or gone, gained or lost.
It isn’t pure or tainted, good or bad, past or future,
true or false, male or female.

It isn’t reserved for monks or lay people,
elders to youths, masters or idiots,
the enlightened or unenlightened.

It isn’t bound by cause and effect
and doesn’t struggle for liberation.

Like space, it has no form.
You can’t own it and you can’t lose it.
Mountains rivers or walls can’t impede it.
But this mind is ineffable
and difficult to experience.

It is not the mind of the senses.
So many are looking for this mind,
yet it already animates their bodies.
It is theirs, yet they don’t realize it.



"Surrender" by Doreen Davis

---“Letting Go” by Connie Chadwell

Surrender to Spirit,
          not to form and objects
            whose heaviness feigns fullness,
But to timeless Spirit
            which lifts and lightens in its wholeness.

Surrender to Vision,
            not to vision that comes from eyes
            and sees facades,
But to sacred Vision
            that looks past chaos to perfection.

Surrender to this Day,
            not to days past and future
            which lead astray,
But to this Moment
            which brings certainty and stability.

Surrender to the Creator,
            not to the unconscious self
            that vainly seeks contentment,
But to God
            Who holds the door open, waiting.

Ms. Davis' Website:


“Blessing” by Aeterna Lumen


This is a union of souls, and hearts, and time. Whispers of the universe swirling and colliding until the particles finally configure and align. Lessons are learned as we travel this world. We can travel the perimeter or take the plunge into the center to seek and understand its core.

She walks in beauty as the night leaving behind trails and trials that encouraged her to take this flight. Time is a healer and a friend if one would take its hand. She has examined the fire, taken its energy, and found its source, unplanned.

He walked the road of good intentions and spiritual desire. Playing with shadows that could not adequately fulfill or truly inspire the deeper intellect needed to connect. His illuminating spirit could not find true peace or pure respect. So, he chose a path that turned away, eventually leading him to this promised day.

How little we know and understand why moments in our lives occur. Years and decades later those whispers of the universe may, again, collide to cause our earthly particles to conjure and concur. Such moments are often forgotten, unnoticed and unsung, but when awakened to the light some greater meaning can become astoundingly powerful and clear!

Now they walk together, hand in hand, and heart to heart. Naked, fully exposed, they choose to make their start. Not so much a new start but a continuum in time. May all their days be sweet, gentle and sublime.


"Quotes from Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”

“It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”

“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”

“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”

“My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.”

“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”

“. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”

“And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.”

“I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.”

“I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha." He looked around as if he were seeing the world for the first time.”

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

“One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking -- a detour, an error.”

“The reason why I do not know anything about myself, the reason why Siddhartha has remained alien and unknown to myself is due to one thing, to one single thing--I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself. I was seeking Atman, I was seeking Brahman, I was determined to dismember myself and tear away its layers of husk in order to find in its unknown innermost recess the kernel at the heart of those layers, the Atman, life, the divine principle, the ultimate. But in so doing, I was losing myself.”

“No, a true seeker, one who truly wished to find, could accept no doctrine. But the man who has found what he sought, such a man could approve of every doctrine, each and every one, every path, every goal; nothing separated him any longer from all those thousands of others who lived in the eternal, who breathed the Divine.”

Tao Te Ching 34 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd


The great Way is all-pervading.
It reaches to the left and to the right.
All things depend on it with their existence.
Still it demands no obedience.
It demands no honor for what it accomplishes.
It clothes and feeds all things without ruling them.

It is eternally without desire.
So, it can be called small.
All things return to it,
Although it does not make itself their ruler.
So, it can be called great.

Therefore, the sage does not strive to be great.
Thereby he can accomplish the great.

It's Great to Be Small
Lao Tzu again describes the humble nature of Tao, the Way. Its greatness lies exactly in its modesty. It has made the world appear and keeps it from disappearing. Every creature exists because of it. Yet, it's discreet with its presence, as if hiding, and it allows us to follow it or not, as if we had a choice to alter the very laws of existence.

The first cause of the universe is quiet about its feat.

This grand example is for everyone to follow. The sage, knowing this, makes sure not to strive for greatness. What would at all be great compared to Tao? One learns Tao by imitating it, so the sage avoids greatness – not in order to accomplish it, but to be in accordance with Tao, the greatest of all. This imitation leads to great accomplishments.
It can also be described as behaving in accordance with nature. When we learn the natural way, we find solutions to problems no matter how big they are, and our actions meet no resistance. We still have the freedom to counter nature, and often we succeed. The question is what it costs us. And we continue paying as long as we want to keep it up.

We can fly, although it's not within our own nature. It took quite an effort to succeed, and it continues to be a complicated endeavor. Lao Tzu would have preferred us to remain on the ground. We change the courses of rivers, drill tunnels through mountains, drain lakes, and tear down forests. It's not for free.

That's Our Nature
On the other hand, this refusal to accept nature's order is part of our nature. That's how we are, evidently. We developed this big brain and need to use it. So, we replace nature by culture. Cities expand and we hurry between them at increasing speed.

It may pillage our planet, but we can't stop ourselves. We are victims of our own capacity.

Lao Tzu was surely aware of this paradox. Already in his days, this urge of ours had forced nature to retreat a few steps. He could see civilization grow, and didn't expect his fellow men to reverse the process.

Instead of restraining our urge to excel, maybe the solution lies in developing how this urge is expressed. If the brain is what causes it, why not turn the ambitions to it?

Instead of struggling with our outer world in efforts to improve it, which is a quest that seems endless, we might find greater satisfaction by working on our inner worlds. Our minds. They are worlds just as complex as the one we see around us.

Exploring the mind, cultivating our thoughts, contemplating our awareness – that's where we are the most likely to find the answers to the questions with the same origin. That's also how to satisfy our longing, without ravaging the world around us.

It could also lead to the discovery that there is not so much we need from the outside world.

Taoism Explained

Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd


The Way gives birth to them.
Virtue gives them nourishment.
Matter gives them shape.
Conditions make them whole.

Of all things,
None does not revere the Way and honor virtue.
Reverence of the Way and honoring virtue
Were not demanded of them,
But it is in their nature.

So, the Way gives birth to them,
Nourishes them,
Raises them,
Nurtures them,
Protects them,
Matures them,
Takes care of them.
It gives birth without seizing,
Helps without claim,
Fosters without ruling.
This is called the profound virtue.

All Things Are Nurtured
Tao as a source, out of which all things have come into existence, is mentioned several times in the Tao Te Ching. But virtue, te, giving them nourishment, is a somewhat confusing perspective. Human beings need virtue as nourishment for their character and perspectives on life. Perhaps the same thing can be said for the animals – but how can it be expected of plants and dead things?

 What is hinted with the statement is either virtue as a kind of principle for the growth and development of all things, or some animistic standpoint, where everything in the world is connected and in some sense alive. Probably, it's a combination of both.

To Lao Tzu and his contemporaries, life was something other than it is to us. All of nature, with its movements, changes, and dynamics, could be seen as being alive. Movement is everywhere, so is growth and decay. Therefore, in many cultures it has been taken for granted that all things possess some kind of life. Otherwise, how could they change, and how could they be active, important parts of the human conditions?

We are enclosed in the world and we relate to it in countless ways, so it's definitely part of our lives. At least in that sense, the world is alive and bound to the same conditions as we are. The world is alive because it matters to our lives.

Also, since Lao Tzu sees Tao as something encompassing all, behind all, he gives equal omnipresence to virtue, the worldly manifestation of Tao. This relation between Tao and virtue is expressed by the last line of this chapter. How Tao behaves is called the profound virtue. So, Tao can be said to have virtue, therefore virtue must be present in everything born out of Tao.

Since Tao is the way things are and ought to be, it can be called virtuous. Tao is the original state of
Te, virtue. The nature of Tao is virtuous, but not because it's bound by virtue. That would make it second. It's virtuous of itself, whereas the world coming out of it has virtue because of its origin, like genes transporting heredity from parents to children. The whole world and all things in it carry the virtue of Tao with them.

So, there is just one form of virtue, which is from Tao, and its essence is nothing but being in accordance with Tao. We are virtuous when we follow the Way.

Taoism Explained

"The Mystical Theology" (excerpt) by Pseudo-Dionysius

---“Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt

From The Mystical Theology, by Pseudo-Dionysius (St. Denys the Areopagite),
6th-century Christian monk

Chapter Four
So this is what we say. The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor be touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion. It is not powerless and subject to the disturbances cause by sense perception. It endures no deprivation of light. It passes through no change, decay, division, loss, no ebb and flow, nothing of which the sense may be aware. None of all this can either be identified with it nor attributed to it.

Chapter Five
Again, as we climb higher we say this. It is not soul or mind, nor does it possess imagination, conviction, speech, or understanding. Nor is it speech per se, understanding per se. it cannot be spoken of and it cannot be grasped by understanding. It is not number or order, greatness or smallness, equality or inequality, similarity or dissimilarity. It is not immovable, moving or at rest. It has no power, it is not power, nor is it light. It does not live nor is it life. It is not a substance, nor is it eternity or time. It cannot be grasped by the understanding since it is neither one nor oneness, divinity nor goodness. Nor is it a spirit, in the sense in which we understand that term. It is not sonship or fatherhood and it is nothing known to us or to any other being. It falls neither within the predicate of nonbeing nor of being. Existing beings do not know it as it actually is and it does not know them as they are. There is no speaking of it, nor name nor knowledge of it. Darkness and light, error and truth—it is none of these. It is beyond assertion and denial. We make assertions and denials of what is next to it, but never of it, for it is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial.

Pseudo-Dionysius, The Complete Works, 1987, Paulist Press. Trans. Colm Luibheid

"In Silence" by Thomas Merton

--“Christ in Silence” by Odilon Redon

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

to the living walls.

Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”

smileThomas Merton Center


"The Saint" — Buddha

--Painting — “The Wandering Sage”

There is no suffering for the one
who has completed the journey,
who is freed from sorrow,
who has freed oneself on all sides,
who has thrown off all chains.

The thoughtful exert themselves;
they do not delight in a home;
like swans who have left their lake,
they leave their house and home.

Those who have no accumulations, who eat properly,
who have perceived release and unconditioned freedom,
their path is difficult to understand,
like that of birds in the sky.

Those whose passions are stilled,
who are indifferent to pleasure,
who have perceived release and unconditioned freedom,
their path is difficult to understand,
like that of birds in the sky.

Even the gods admire one whose senses are controlled,
like horses well tamed by the driver,
who is free from pride and free from appetites.
Such a dutiful one who is tolerant like the earth,
who is firm like a pillar,
who is like a lake without mud:
no new births are in store for this one.

One’s thought is calm;
calm is one’s word and one’s action
when one has obtained freedom by true knowledge
and become peaceful.
The one who is free from gullibility,
who knows the uncreated, who has severed all ties,
removed all temptations, renounced all desires,
is the greatest of people.

In a village or in a forest, in a valley or on the hills,
wherever saints live, that is a place of joy.
Forests are delightful; where others find no joy,
there the desireless will find joy,
for they do not seek the pleasures of the senses.


"The Thinking Mind" (Zen Tale) by Charlie Badenhop

Many years ago there was a young man living in a large city in Japan who felt his life was quite empty. With the hope of achieving a state of inner peace, he shaved his head and went to live in the mountains as a monk.

After studying diligently for ten years, the man realized he still didn't understand how to live with a sense of emotional fulfillment. Talking with other disciples, the young monk heard of a highly evolved Zen master living in China. He was drawn to study with this man with the hope of finally realizing his true self. He gathered his meager belongings, crossed the sea of Japan, and started a long and arduous journey across arid plains.

Every day he walked for many hours, and would stop for the evening only after finding a patch of land that had a natural source of water safe for drinking. After traveling in this manner for more than a month, he had the strange sensation of feeling both energized and empty.

One day was particularly hot and dry and the monk walked endlessly unable to find water. As the day turned into a moonless night he finally found an oasis. Totally exhausted, he collapsed onto the ground and began crawling around in the darkness in search of liquid sustenance. He came across a roughly made cup that had been left behind. The custom of leaving a cup with some water in it for the next traveler was quite common. He drank the meager amount of delicious tasting water and felt blessed and at peace with the world. He soon lay down and slept quite comfortably until awaking to the light of the early morning sun.

Upon sitting up, the first thing he noticed was what he had taken to be the roughly made cup the night before. Indeed it was not a manmade cup, but rather the shattered skull of a baby wolf! The moist skull was caked with blood, and a number of ants were crawling around inside scavenging for food to carry back to their colony.

The monk saw all this and immediately began to vomit! He was overcome by several waves of nausea, and as the fluid poured forth from his mouth and nose, he clearly experienced his thinking mind overwhelming his body and his emotions. With no choice but to submit to the moment, he understood that his thinking mind had been overwhelming him his entire life!

The night before the water tasted delicious and he felt refreshed. It was his misunderstanding of the circumstances that led him to feel fine. Upon seeing the skull and the ants in the light of the morning sun, it was his memory of his past actions and not the putrid water that brought about his nausea.

Regardless of whether or not he was understanding or misunderstanding, it was his thinking mind that created the way he felt. This was suddenly very clear to him. He realized that if his thinking was capable of creating suffering, it was also capable of creating peace of mind. He realized that what had occurred in the past was much less important than the way he reacted in the present. Upon understanding this, his journey was complete and he returned home to live his life with a sense of emotional fulfillment.

From “It's Your Thinking That Leads to Your Suffering”
By Charlie Badenhop

THE TAO IS SILENT — Preface (excerpt) p. xi by Raymond M. Smullyan


When I first came across the Taoist writings, I was infinitely delighted. I did not feel that I was reading something strange or exotic, but that I was reading the very thoughts I have had all my life, only expressed far better than I have ever been able to express them. To me,
Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined with an intense aesthetic awareness. Neither alone is adequate; a purely passive serenity is kind of dull, and an anxiety-ridden awareness is not very appealing. A Chinese friend of mine (of the modern school) recently criticized Taoism as a philosophy of “having one’s cake and eating it too.” I replied, “What could be better?” He responded, “But one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too!” This is precisely where we disagree! All my life I have believed that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. Hence I am a Taoist.

Actually, I came to Taoism first through Zen-Buddhism. It took me quite a while to realize to what extent Zen has combined Taoism and Buddhism, and that it was primarily the Taoistic elements which appealed to me. The curious thing about Zen is that it first makes one’s mouth water for this thing called Satori (enlightenment) and then straightaway informs us that our desire for Satori is the very thing which is preventing us from getting it! By contrast, the Taoist strikes me as one who is not so much in search of something he hasn’t, but who is enjoying what he has.


"Uni-Verse" by Doreen Davis


One Song.

Sense the rhythms of the Earth.
Place your feet upon her heart
and let your blood pulse to her tempo.

Feel the chants in winds and waters echo.

Search for melodies in stars and space –
Heaven’s notes infuse your Soul.

Angels whisper lyrics.
Do you hear them?

Listen to your brother’s song, your sister’s key
and sing the harmony.

Perceive the perfect pitch within you
and sing out loud and clear.

You are
The One Song.

The Universe.

Ms. Davis' Website:


“The Great Way” by Wu Men

-----Painting by Luo Ping

The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.

(Wumen Huikai (1183–1260) was a Zen Master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan).


"The Taoist Sage" (excerpt) THE SILENT TAO by Raymond M. Smullyan

“At all costs, the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away at each other.

Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tao to his hearts content, without ever worrying whether or not Tao exists. The Sage has no need to affirm the Tao; he is far too busy enjoying it!”



"Wind and a Bobwhite" by Thomas Merton

---“Wind” by Deborah Richardson

And the afternoon sun.
By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,

Bird and wind.

My leaves sing.

I am earth, earth

All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.

A tall, spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!

I am earth, earth

My heart’s love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
Stand reflected.

I am earth, earth

Out of my grass heart
Rises the bobwhite.
Out of my nameless weeds His foolish worship.

—Thomas Merton


"Lillies of the Field"

---Painting — “Lillies of the Field” by aldussaunt

One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned,
he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible. "No," Gasan
replied, "Please read some of it to me." The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon
on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ's words
about the
*lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long
time. "Yes," he finally said, "Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened
being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying
to teach you here!"

————*Consider the lilies of the field,
—————how they grow;
—————They toil not, neither do they spin;
—————And yet I say unto you,
—————that even Solomon in all his glory
—————was not arrayed like one of these.



"Awareness" by Anthony de Mello

---Painting: “Awareness” by Rebecca Rees
The student monk had spent seven years,
Learning how to comprehend awareness.
At the end of his study it was time for assessment,
To visit the master was his final assignment.

The master sat, at the young man he looked,
Was he ready to become a teacher monk?

The young monk, wet from his walk,
Had placed his umbrella in the hall
Master asked, 'to the left or right of your clogs,
Did you place your umbrella to dry at rest? '

The monk was taken by surprise,
Why such simple thing, when so wise?
Try as he might he couldn't recall;
Had to admit, no idea at all.

'Go back to your teacher for seven more years,
To learn once more the secret of awareness'.

To late the young monk remembered,
Awareness encompasses everything.
No chance of ever really seeing,
Unless every second has meaning.



Psalm 139

----Painting by Margaret_097

Oh Love
You have pursued me
and dared to know me
You embrace my stillness
and my uprising
You understand my thoughts,
share a shadowland of memory
and  bright hopes for what is to come.
That you have chosen me
is wonderful beyond belief.
You are my faithful companion.
In the heights and depths,
in light and darkness.
Surely, we were formed  in separate wombs,
destined to be joined in life.
You look beyond my faults and failings
to some beauty I am becoming but cannot see.
Your myriad ways are precious to me.
I fall asleep graced by your presence,
thankful for my good fortune.
When I awake you are still here.

Interpretation by Sam Keen


"Insight" from Personal.tao.com

---Painting by Isabelle Bryer

Heaven and Hell are not after life
Heaven and Hell are within life.
It’s in movement we create joy
It’s in despair we cement walls.

Step over limitation.
      Openly reveal, peel apart & feel poetry
      moving around every barrier
             Overflowing to your own nature.

Never regret action
     as the past lies
     in fleeting memories.
To Live, eternally, now
      within the way  
      of exploring possibility.

The secret to life is…
     Simply being true to yourself and smiling
     Looking upon each day,
           with the new wonder it deserves.


“Test of Socrates”

—-Drawing — “Socrates” by Mark Lastovsky

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test."

"The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and...."

'All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not.

Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"


“What Else Have You Ever Risked?" (excerpt) ANOTHER ROADSIDE REACTION by Tom Robbins

--“Sea Turtle” at Risk: by Rabi Khan

“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked?
Have you risked disapproval?
Have you ever risked economic security?
Have you ever risked a belief?
I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one's life.
So you lose it, you go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey 'til the end of time. Right?
You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences.
That's not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness.
Real courage is risking one's clichés.”


"Vast Emptiness" — Author Unknown

---Picture by Smattila

The emperor, who was a devout Buddhist, invited a great Zen master to the Palace in order to ask him questions about Buddhism. 

"What is the highest truth of the holy Buddhist doctrine?" the emperor inquired. 

"Vast emptiness... and not a trace of holiness," the master replied. 

"If there is no holiness," the emperor said, "then who or what are you?" 

"I do not know," the master replied.


"Misfortune" Author Unknown

A Chinese farmer's neighbors came over to offer him their sympathy after his horse ran away. "I'm not so sure it's a misfortune", said the farmer. The neighbors left, shaking their heads.

The next day, the farmer's horse returned, and three wild horses came home with him. The neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune. "I'm not certain that it is good fortune", replied the farmer. The neighbors left, more bemused than before.

Later that week, the farmer's son broke his leg trying to train one of the new horses, and the neighbors came by to offer condolences. "I'm not sure this is a misfortune", said the farmer again. The neighbors left, discussing the man's mental state among themselves.

The next day, the emperor came through, gathering up young men to be in his army. They bypassed the farmer's son, since he had a broken leg.

'Worse than a Clown' — Unknown

“Painting: “The Happy Clown” by Deb Adams

There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma.  Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he kept laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing. 

The young monk was very disturbed by the master's reaction. For the next 3 days, he could not eat, sleep nor think properly. At the end of 3 days, he went back to the master and told the master how disturbed he had felt. 

When the master heard this, he said, "Monk, do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that YOU ARE WORSE THAN A CLOWN!" 

The monk was shocked to hear that, "Venerable Sir, how can you say such a thing?! How can I be worse than a clown?" 

The master explained, "A clown enjoys seeing people laugh. You? You feel disturbed because another person laughed. Tell me, are you not worse than a clown?" 

When the monk heard this, he began to laugh. He was enlightened.


Perceptions by Doreen Davis

On this morning of stark contrasts

Branches and brambles
     confess their strong, swarthy hues
     beneath a gentle, snowy cloak

As smoky-gray clouds at the horizon
     attempt to mask
     the promise of today’s sunshine.

On this morning of stark contrasts
     I remember 
     that beauty colors both light and dark.

Ms. Davis' Website:

The Gates of Paradise " by Japanese Zen teacher Muju


A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"

"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.

"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.

"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin.

(from Collection of Sand and Stone, 13th Century Japanese koans written by Japanese Zen teacher Muju)


"Time To Learn " — Author Unknown


A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:  "If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen." 

The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years." 

The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then ?" 

Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." 

"But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?" asked the student. 

"Thirty years," replied the Master. 

"But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?" 

Replied the Master," When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."


"More Is Not Enough - The Stone Cutter " — by Benjamin Hoff

---Painting: “The Stone Cutter” by Gillian Calvert
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.  One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant. 

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!" 

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!" Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!" 

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!" 

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!" 

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought. 

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

"The Little Monk and the Samurai — Zen Parable

The old monk sat by the side of the road, with his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap in deep meditation.
Suddenly his tranquility was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior standing before him. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”

At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But slowly he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing moment.

“You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?” replied the monk at last. “You who are so unkempt, whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is rusty and neglected. You would ask me of heaven and hell?”

The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned crimson and the veins on his neck stood out pulsing wildly as he prepared to sever the monk’s head from his shoulders.

“That,” said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent, “is hell.” In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-descent and his eyes filled with grateful tears.


A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk.
He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience.
"Teach me about heaven and hell!”

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,
"Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dumb. You're dirty. You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can't stand you.”

The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai's eyes, the monk said softly,
"That's hell.”

The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,
"And that's heaven.


"Giving" from THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran

---“Mother Theresa” by Derek Russell

Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Though the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be over-mindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.


"Heaven and Hell" — Zen Wisdom

1 copy
—-SKETCH: http://cheeseburgerbuddha.blogspot.com/2011/02/last-samurai.html

The old monk sat by the side of the road, with his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap in deep meditation.
Suddenly his tranquility was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior standing before him. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”

At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But slowly he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing moment.

“You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?” replied the monk at last. “You who are so unkempt, whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is rusty and neglected. You would ask me of heaven and hell?”

The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned crimson and the veins on his neck stood out pulsing wildly as he prepared to sever the monk’s head from his shoulders.

“That,” said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent, “is hell.” In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-descent and his eyes filled with grateful tears.


"Tea Master"


A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill. As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony." The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.


"Finding Joy in the Simple Things" — by Derek Lin

----“Lake Bound” by Heron Dance

In 1900, toward the end of the Ch'ing dynasty, China found itself in discord and turmoil. European countries had made their entrance. They easily dominated the scene with their superior technology and firepower. Anti-foreign Chinese militants fought back, even though they were hopelessly outgunned.

The conflict escalated until Beijing itself turned into the battleground. The situation became more and more dangerous until it was no longer prudent for Empress Tz'u-hsi to remain in the palace. Escorted by imperial guards and personal servants, she fled into the countryside.

Fear and uncertainty gripped the dowager empress. What was happening to her palace? Her city? Her country? Never in her sixty-five years had Tz'u-hsi felt so vulnerable. It seemed as if the violence they left behind in Beijing might pounce on them at any moment, threatening even her personal safety.
Days later, they came upon a farming village, and decided to get some much-needed rest. After her seemingly endless, fearful flight, Tz'u-hsi was physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and ravenously hungry. She ordered that food be brought forth at once.

The farmers prepared a meal with the best they had, which wasn't much. They were much too poor to have anything beyond the bare necessities. After much scrounging, they came up with rice porridge and a dish of preserved snails.
To Tz'u-hsi, the meal was incredibly delicious. She went for seconds, and then thirds. She had never tasted such delicacies all her life. Curious, she asked: "What do you call these marvelous dishes?"

The farmers knew the meal was the most common imaginable, without any class or artistic distinctions. But even in times of distress, anything the empress touched had to be appropriate to her exalted station.

"Um . . . Your Majesty had pearl soup and stewed phoenix eyes," they told her.
Empress Tz'u-hsi thought of the cuisine at the palace. Every meal was an elaborate banquet, featuring a hundred and twenty entrees, all painstakingly prepared by imperial chefs. Even though these chef were the best in all of China, none of their culinary creations satisfied her appetite as this remarkable meal she just had.
Later, after the fighting subsided, Tzu-hsi was finally able to return to the palace. Safely ensconced in opulent seclusion, she reflected upon her ordeal. She recalled the pearl soup and the stewed phoenix eyes and wanted to have them again, but much to her annoyance, the imperial chefi swore they had never heard of such things.

Excerpt From: The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed The Joys of Inner Harmony Found The Path to Enlightenment Illuminated

"Self-Control" — Zen Story


One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances."One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything.
"What are you laughing at?" asked the teacher. "That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce."

"What I Believe is Who I am" by Rebecca Braun

I Am

I am
The mantra is clear.
I am
Connecting to spirit.
I am
My Source is Light.
I am
The Creator lifts me higher.
I am
To believe in myself.
I am
I must trust the possibilities.
I am
No longer a victim.
I am
Shedding the labels.
I am
Pulling away the veil.
I am
Washing away denial.
Passion is Source.
I am
Action is paramount.
I am
Patience is crucial.
I am
Giving to the Universe.
I am
Opening to my True Self.
I am
Grateful for this Life.
I am
Willing to serve.
I am

© Copyright 2015 Rebecca Braun. All rights reserved.


"RITUAL" — Zen Story

Painting — “Blue Cat Painting” by Deb Harvey
When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, a cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. One day the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.


Sripad Valmiki Muni


Previously Valmiki, having the name Ratnakara, was living in the forest, and to maintain his family he would kill and rob passers by as they went through the forest. Some days he would come back with not very much, to which his demanding wife would reply to his entrance, "Is that all you've brought?" "Be patient dear, tomorrow a group of rich merchants will pass through the forest and I will relieve them of their wealth, " he would dutifully reply.

One day the seven great sages (Sapta Rishis) passed through the forest. Ratnakara stopped them with his usual demands for their wealth or their lives. The sages replied that they were actually in the renounced order, and did not possess any material wealth. They then asked the robber why he robbed as a profession. Ratnakara replied that he had to maintain his family, and robbery was his only option as a means of livelihood. The sages asked him if his family, who live on the fruits of his sinful activities, would partake of the results of his sins also, that he comited by putting his victims through various ordeals, and told him to go and ask them and then come back with their answer.

 Ratnakara seemed to think they would be with him completely, however when the robber asked his wife and son if they would also share in the resultant reactions to his sins as well as the fruits, they both replied, No! You are the sinner. Why should we share your sins?"

 Devastated at the replies from his so-called loved ones, in tears he returned to the seven great sages. Throwing himself at their feet he begged for their mercy and forgiveness. The sages told Ratnakara to chant the holy name of Rama, but Ratnakara stated that he had always preferred to chant Mara, or death. Anyway, those Saptarishis, who are full of compassion told him to just sit there and recite Mara continuously. As he chanted 'maramaramaramara' continuously like that, the holy name of 'ramaramarama' gradually became manifest. Sitting and chanting in this way in deep absorption on the holy name of the Lord, he sat for months and years, until finally his body became covered over by a 'valmik' (ant hill).

One day, many years later, the seven great sages returned and called to the now reformed robber. Bursting from the ant hill, the pleased sages gave him the new name Valmiki. By the constant and intense devotion of Valmiki Muni, best among the 'Rshis', he had meditated on the holy name of Lord Rama, even at first unknowingly, but the potency of the holy name acts whether chanted knowingly, unknowingly, or even in a mocking way.

 Valmiki, now surcharged with spiritual potency, became respected everywhere by saintly devotees of the Lord. At this time, Narada Muni came to see Valmiki. Valmiki, accepting Narada as his eternal spiritual master, enquired from him as to who among men is the most perfect. Narada Muni said that King Rama, the King of Ayodhya, is the most perfect person, for He is the Personality of Godhead Narayana Himself. Then Narada Muni narrated the full story of the Ramayana - the wonderful life story of Lord Rama, after which he took his leave.

 Valmiki thought of nothing else, for he was always absorbed in thoughts of the saintly Lord Rama.


Buddha Tells a Parable

cliff hanger
---From Jeremy Matlock’s Website

Gautama Buddha,
The Dhammapada

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. One the vine sustained him.  Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.
How sweet it tasted!

"The Stars" by Morton Marcus

“Painting Stars” by Harri Williams

The Stars
by Morton Marcus

The stars are grains of salt
thrown over God's shoulder.
They fly from us and we fly after.

But the heart, that dark star,
the heart, that heavy planet,
is all we can know of heaven.

Morton Marcus Verse Daily


"Truth Is" by Adyashanti


Truth is only discovered in the moment.
There is no truth that can be carried over
to the next moment, the next day, the next year.
Memory never contains truth, only what is past, dead, gone.

Truth comes into the non-seeking mind fresh and alive.
It is not something you can carry with you, accumulate, or hold onto.

Truth leaps into view when the mind is quiet, not asserting itself.
You cannot contain or domesticate truth, for if you do, it dies instantly.

Truth prowls the unknown waiting for a gap in the mind’s activity.
When that gap is there, the truth leaps out of the unknown into the known.

Instantly you comprehend it and sense its sacredness.
The timeless has broken through like a flash of lightning
and illuminated the moment with its presence.

Truth comes to an innocent mind as a blessing and a sacrament.
Truth is a holy thing because it liberates thought from itself
and illumines the human heart from the inside out.

© Adyashanti 2009 

Click here for Adyashanti’s Website

"Touched By An Angel" by Maya Angelou

Pasted Graphic
--“Angel” by Karen Tarlton

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

—Maya Angelou

"Ego" Unknown

---Painting —“Alter Ego” by Jamie Adrover

The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, "Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?"

The master's face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, "What kind of stupid question is that?"
This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, "THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism."


"The Strength of Weakness by Richard Seymour


Be wary of the very strong
And they shall become weak.
Be dismissed as being weak -
And that shall be your strength.
Remember that the oceans place themselves
Below the land;
But all rivers flow into them.
And remember, too,
That water - the most Pliant of all substances -
Has shaped continents.

—Richard Seymour


Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?


Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?

A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Life, broke the silence by asking the Master, "Master, how do I enter Life?"
He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Life.
The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. "Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?"
The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Life. Now, as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to higher alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.
"Yes, I can hear it now," he said.
The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, "Enter Life from there."
The disciple was stunned. It was his first epiphany - a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Life was without knowing what it was that he knew!
They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. "Master," he said, "I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn't been able to hear the mountain stream?" The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, "Enter Life from there."

"Against Certainty" by Jane Hirshfield


There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.

If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.

Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.

I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.


Hymn of the Universe by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Hymn of the Universe by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin "Hymn of the Universe" (excerpt) by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Chapter 1: The Mass On The World

Since once again, Lord — though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia — I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labour. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits.

My paten and my chalice are the depths of a soul laid widely open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit. Grant me the remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light is now awakening to the new day.

One by one, Lord, I see and I love all those whom you have given me to sustain and charm my life. One by one also I number all those who make up that other beloved family which has gradually surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of the most disparate elements, with affinities of the heart, of scientific research and of thought. And again one by one — more vaguely it is true, yet all-inclusively — I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who surround me and support me though I do not know them; those who come, and those who go; above all, those who in office, laboratory and factory, through their vision of truth or despite their error, truly believe in the progress of earthly reality and who today will take up again their impassioned pursuit of the light.

This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my being should respond. All the things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.

Once upon a time men took into your temple the first fruits of their harvests, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you really want, the offering you mysteriously need every day to appease your hunger, to slake your thirst is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of universal becoming.

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day.

This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless mass you have implanted — and this I am sure of, for I sense it — a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer and unbeliever alike:

‘Lord, make us one.’

Because, my God, though I lack the soul-zeal and the sublime integrity of your saints, I yet have received from you an overwhelming sympathy for all that stirs within the dark mass of matter; because I know myself to be irremediably less a child of heaven than a son of earth; therefore I will this morning climb up in spirit to the high places, bearing with me the hopes and the miseries of my mother; and there — empowered by that priesthood which you alone (as I firmly believe) have bestowed on me — upon all that in the world of human flesh is now about to be born or to die beneath the rising sun I will call down the Fire.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


'In My Soul' by Rabia — 8th C, poetess of Islam


In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church.

Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,
where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost,
where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body?

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
that dissolve,
that dissolve in God.


“Wings of Love and Longing” - Author Unknown

—-Painting by Rassouli

“Wings of Love and Longing”
Author Unknown

When longing lures us from sleep
to follow the flutter of wings
playing around the heart,
a soft breath carries remembrance
of the long grateful sigh
of breaking free
from whatever binds
and confines
the wings of our souls

We know on some
deep level,
that we are meant
for soaring.
Perhaps the birds are envoys
to kindle the flame
of remembering.

Captivity can leave
deep grooves
where the chains
we fashion
slowly wear away
our capacity for beauty.

We stop straining
toward the light
and begin to develop
a hunger
for bread alone.

The vision of flight
and the soft shores of silence
disappear into
some amusement ride,
a simulated reality
of forgotten
of the journey from
heart to heart to heart.

What calls us to chip away stone
to find a vision of light
hiding inside?
What summons us to the sea
to sail to the place
where the sky kneels
to touch
a distant shore?

What inspires us
to begin to create music
in tune with
the rhythmic beating
of the heart?

What lures a song
to form from a deep place
within our soul?

Who is the knight without
armor or sword
who comes
riding into the night
to remind us,
the secrets are not
in the moon,
but within our hearts?

It is Love that forever invites
and excites us,
daring us to dream,
to risk, to feel, to imagine,
to turn toward beauty,
toward the light of becoming
and the exalted flight
of freedom
beyond wings.

(Poem found on Website below):



'O Sweet Irrational Worship' by Thomas Merton 


'‘For a New Beginning’  by John O'Donohue

Painting Entitled ‘ANew Beginning’ by Ramneek Narang

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
by John O’Donohue


GRATITUDE' by Gary Snyder - (based on a Mohawk prayer)

Angel of Gratitude
“ANGLE OF GRATITUDE” by Cheryl Braganza

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day —
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light changing leaf
and fine-root hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep — he who wakes us –
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars — and goes yet beyond that –
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us –
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.

So be it.


'In My Soul' by Rabia, 8th C, poetess saint of Islam

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,

where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost,

where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body?

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church

that dissolve, that dissolve in God.

"Love" by Kahlil Gibran


Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart,"
but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Click Here for Kahlil Gibran’s Website

"Spirituality Means…" by Anthony de Mello

Spirituality means waking up.  Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep.  They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up.  They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.

—Anthony de Mello

Parable — A Man Encountered a Vicious Tiger


One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.

The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.

Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.

Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he
didn't have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.

He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.

At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding onto the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.

With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.

Yin & Yang — Feminine & Masculine

  • Yin and Yang form completion and are complementary
  • Within Yin and Yang are the seeds of the other
  • Through intersection and connection each accentuates the other.
  • Nothing is exclusively Yin, nothing is exclusively Yang.
  • Together both natures are transformative.

"The Monk and the Spider"


Once upon a time, there was a monk who had trouble meditating. Whenever he tried going into meditation, a giant spider would appear. No matter what he did, he could not get rid of it.

At his wit's end, the monk sought help from his master. The master instructed him to prepare a brush at his side for the next attempt. When the spider appeared again, he was to use the brush to draw a circle on it.

The monk followed these instructions and attempted meditation. Sure enough, the giant spider came back. The monk followed the plan and drew a circle on the monster. As soon as he did so, the spider disappeared, and he was able to resume meditation in peace.

Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson's "In Memorium" Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson's "In Memorium"

I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain

In words, like weeds, I wrap me o’er
Like coarsest cloths against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more

"UNENDING LOVE" by Rabindranath Tagore

“Aubrey Hepburn Detail” - by Olivia Onwuka

by Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
And the songs of every poet past and forever.


This poem is posted in honor of
Audrey Hepburn and her long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.



"SEASONAL LOVE" by Rebecca Braun

by Rebecca Braun

Fresh and new,
flowering Love’s view
with growing buds,
flourishing leaves
and trees,
I saw Spring in you.

Skin flushed and burned,
fiery kisses returned
from hot moist air,
sun bleached hair,
Summer looked good on you.

Leaves tumbled and rolled,
chilling winds
took their toll
on auburn hearts,
bleeding and breaking apart,
Autumn said good-bye to you.

Now frozen nights
drag on and on,
lonely silence
in the cold grey dawn.
Love buried
beneath miles of ice
and snow,
there is no surviving Winter
without you.
 © Copyright 2014 Rebecca Braun. All rights reserved

The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus

Statue of Liberty
---Leroy Neiman - Leroy Neiman Statue of Liberty Painting

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed,
sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch,
whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning,
and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome;
her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


"The Way of Love" 1 Corinthians 13 English Standard Bible

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


"Intoxicated by the Wine of Love" — Farid al-Din Attar

Wine Edited
Love Wine With Unusual Hearts

Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.
From each a mystic silence Love demands.
What do all seek so earnestly? 'Tis Love.
What do they whisper to each other? Love.
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts.
In Love no longer 'thou' and 'I' exist,
For Self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of mine inmost soul,
Behold the Friend; Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds,
Will find the secret of them both, is Love.

From “The Jawhar Al-Dhat 


The World Is a Beautiful Place by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The world is a beautiful place 
to be born into 
if you don't mind happiness 
not always being 
so very much fun 
if you don't mind a touch of hell 
now and then 
just when everything is fine 
because even in heaven 
they don't sing 
all the time 
The world is a beautiful place 
to be born into 
if you don't mind some people dying 
all the time 
or maybe only starving 
some of the time 
which isn't half bad 
if it isn't you 
Oh the world is a beautiful place 
to be born into
if you don't much mind 
a few dead minds 
in the higher places 
or a bomb or two 
now and then 
in your upturned faces 
or such other improprieties 
as our Name Brand society 
is prey to 
with its men of distinction 
and its men of extinction 
and its priests 
and other patrolmen 
and its various segregations 
and congressional investigations 
and other constipations 
that our fool flesh 
is heir to  Yes the world is the best place of all 
for a lot of such things as 
making the fun scene 
and making the love scene 
and making the sad scene
  and singing low songs and having inspirations 
and walking around 
looking at everything 
and smelling flowers 
and goosing statues 
and even thinking 
and kissing people and 
making babies and wearing pants 
and waving hats and 
and going swimming in rivers 
on picnics 
in the middle of the summer 
and just generally 
'living it up' 
but then right in the middle of it 
comes the smiling 



“Every Ordinary Moment” by William Martin

“Every Ordinary Moment”

We are learning to distinguish
between true and false power.
We see the clamoring of the young
for wealth and position
and we sadly smile and shake our heads.
We are less attached to our possessions and no longer dominated by great ambition. We are not enslaved by our desires and therefore not as vulnerable to the schemes of others.
Our thoughts are becoming clearer,
and our needs are becoming more simple.
Enough to eat,
a comfortable bed,
and the glow of friendship
suffice to delight us.

Isn't it wonderful to have friends visit
and to talk of gentle, hopeful things?
How pleasant to enjoy the aroma of morning coffee
and a sip of sherry before bed.
We have earned the right
to enjoy every ordinary moment.


"Beginnings" — Deng Ming Dao

---Deng Ming-Dao’s Book

This is the very first writing I encountered by Den Ming-Dao. My spirit soared!

This is the moment of embarking. All auspicious signs are in place.

In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.
In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.
Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.


"REALIZATION-WAY SONG " — Cheng-tao Ke, translated by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen

The Concept of The Power Beyond You

Like the empty sky
it has no boundaries,
Yet it is right in this place,
ever profound and clear.

When you seek to know it,
you cannot see it.

You cannot take hold of it,
But you cannot lose it.
In not being able to get it,
you get it.

When you are silent,
it speaks;
When you speak,
it is silent.

The great gate is wide open
to bestow alms,
And no crowd is blocking the way.

—From Cheng-tao Ke, translated by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen


"Not Ready to Be a True Teacher — Unknown

"Kasan, a Zen teacher and monk, was to officiate at a funeral of a famous nobleman.

As he stood there waiting for the governor of the province and other lords and ladies to arrive, he noticed that the palms of his hands were sweaty.

The next day he called his disciples together and confessed he was not yet ready to be a true teacher. He explained to them that he still lacked the sameness of bearing before all human beings, whether beggar or king. He was still unable to look through social roles and conceptual identities and see the sameness of being in every human. He then left and became the pupil of another master. He returned to his former disciples eight years later, enlightened."



When the Zen master attained enlightenment
he wrote the following lines to celebrate it:

"Oh wondrous marvel:
I chop wood!
I draw water from the well!”

After enlightenment nothing really changes. The tree is still a tree; people are just what they were before and so are you. You may continue to be as moody or even-tempered, as wise or foolish. The one difference is that you see things with a different eye. You are more detached from it all now. And your heart is full of wonder.

That is the essence of contemplation: the sense of wonder.
Contemplation is different from ecstasy in that ecstasy leads to withdrawal. The enlightened contemplative continues to chop wood and draw water from the well. Contemplation is different from the perception of beauty in that the perception of beauty (a painting or a sunset) produces aesthetic delight, whereas contemplation produces wonder—no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone.

This is the prerogative of children. They are so often in a state of wonder. So they easily slip into the Kingdom.

(DeMello, Anthony, The Song of the Bird, p16)


"The Way the World Is" by Anthony de Mello

---Crocodile Sketch 4
---by Shadowdion

When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world becomes right. We're always bothered by the problem of evil. There's a powerful story about a little boy walking along the bank of a river. He sees a crocodile who is trapped in a net. The crocodile says, "Would you have pity on me and release me? I may look ugly, but it isn't my fault, you know. I was made this way. But whatever my external appearance, I have a mother's heart. I came this morning in search of food for my young ones and got caught in this trap!" 

So the boy says, "Ah, if I were to help you out of that trap, you'd grab me and kill me." 

The crocodile asks, "Do you think I would do that to my benefactor and liberator?" 

So the boy is persuaded to take the net off and the crocodile grabs him. 

As he is being forced between the jaws of the crocodile, he says, "So this is what I get for my good actions." And the crocodile says, "Well, don't take it personally, son, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life." 

The boy disputes this, so the crocodile says, "Do you want to ask someone if it isn't so?" 

The boy sees a bird sitting on a branch and says, "Bird, is what the crocodile says right?" The bird says, "The crocodile is right. Look at me. I was coming home one day with food for my fledglings. Imagine my horror to see a snake crawling up the tree, making straight for my nest. I was totally helpless. It kept devouring my young ones, one after the other. I kept screaming and shouting, but it was useless. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is." 

"See," says the crocodile. But the boy says, "Let me ask someone else." So the crocodile says, "Well, all right, go ahead." 

There was an old donkey passing by on the bank of the river. "Donkey," says the boy, "this is what the crocodile says. Is the crocodile right?" 

The donkey says, "The crocodile is quite right. Look at me. I've worked and slaved for my master all my life and he barely gave me enough to eat. Now that I'm old and useless, he has turned me loose, and here I am wandering in the jungle, waiting for some wild beast to pounce on me and put an end to my life. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is." 

"See," says the crocodile. "Let's go!" 

The boy says, "Give me one more chance, one last chance. Let me ask one other being. Remember how good I was to you?" So the crocodile says, "All right, your last chance." 

The boy sees a rabbit passing by, and he says, "Rabbit, is the crocodile right?" 

The rabbit sits on his haunches and says to the crocodile, "Did you say that to that boy? The crocodile says, "Yes, I did." "Wait a minute," says the rabbit. "We've got to discuss this." "Yes," says the crocodile. But the rabbit says, "How can we discuss it when you've got that boy in your mouth? Release him; he's got to take part in the discussion, too." The crocodile says, "You're a clever one, you are. The moment I release him, he'll run away." The rabbit says, "I thought you had more sense than that. If he attempted to run away, one slash of your tail would kill him." 

"Fair enough," says the crocodile, and he released the boy. The moment the boy is released, the rabbit says, "Run!" And the boy runs and escapes. Then the rabbit says to the boy, "Don't you enjoy crocodile flesh? Wouldn't the people in your village like a good meal? You didn't really release that crocodile; most of his body is still caught in that net. Why don't you go to the village and bring everybody and have a banquet." 

That's exactly what the boy does. He goes to the village and calls all the men folk. They come with their axes and staves and spears and kill the crocodile. The boy's dog comes, too, and when the dog sees the rabbit, he gives chase, catches hold of the rabbit, and throttles him. The boy comes on the scene too late, and as he watches the rabbit die, he says, "The crocodile was right, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life." 

There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all the sufferings and evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the world! You'll never explain it. You can try gamely with your formulas, religious and otherwise, but you'll never explain it. Because life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it. For that you've got to wake up and then you'll suddenly realize that reality is not problematic, you are the problem. 

—Anthony de Mello


"Wonder" (from his private journal) — Dag Hammarskjoid


“God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity.   
But we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined
by the steady radiance,
renewed daily,
of a Wonder—
the source of which is beyond all reason.  

—Dag Hammarskjoid

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjold (pronounced HAM-mar-shold) was born in 1905, the son of the Prime Minister of Sweden. He studied law and economics, and taught economics at the University of Stockholm. He became president of the board of the Bank of Sweden, then Minister of State, then head of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations, and then Secretary General of the United Nations. In 1960 the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) became independent, and civil war promptly broke out. Hammarskjold went in to negotiate a cease-fire, and was killed in a plane crash in Zambia on 18 September 1961.

For years, he had kept a private journal, writing down his thoughts on the Lordship of Christ and its meaning for his life. After his death, the journal was published under the title Markings.

"The Active Life" by Chuang Tzu


If an expert does not have some problem to vex him, he is unhappy.
If a philosopher's teaching is never attacked, he pines away.
If critics have no one on whom to exercise their spite, they are miserable.
All such people are prisoners in a world of objects.

Whoever wants followers seeks political power.
Whoever wants reputation holds an office.
The strong man looks for weights to lift.
The brave man looks for an emergency in which he can show his courage.

The swordsman wants a battle in which he can swing his sword.
Men past their prime prefer a dignified retirement, in which they can seem profound.
Experienced lawyers seek difficult cases to extend the application of laws.
Poets, writers and musicians like festivals in which they can parade their talents.
The benevolent, the dutiful, are always looking for chances to display virtue.

Where would the gardener be if there were no more weeds?
What would become of business without a market of fools?
Where would the masses be if there were no pretext for getting jammed together and making noise?
What would become of labour if there were no superfluous objects to be made?

Produce! Get results! Make money! Make friends! Make changes!
Or you will die of despair!

Those who are caught in the machinery of power take no joy except in activity and change.
The whirring of the machine!

Whenever an occasion for action presents itself, they are compelled to act: they cannot help themselves.
They are inexorably moved, like the machine of which they are a part.
Prisoners in the world of objects, they have no choice, but to submit to the demands of the matter.
They are pressed down and crushed by external forces, fashion, the market, events, public opinion.
Never in a whole lifetime do they recover their right mind!

The active life!
What a pity!

(Chuang Tzu - translated by Thomas Merton)

"THE LITTLE MAN" by Bob Fergeson

From early morning coffee
to late night herbal tea,
We lived for near forever,
the Little Man and me.

When first I came to travel
in this classroom wide and grand,
I knew nothing of the coming
of this lonely Little Man.

But parents, teachers, doctors,
the whole damn Helping Herd,
Soon created him inside me,
As their ancestors had insured.
He has no real existence,
None that I can see.
But could and should and would!
Screamed the Little Man in me.

Soon I hid myself in pride,
Found that fear blocked every door.
I was now what I despised!
Just as those that’d gone before.

The hypnosis worked it’s magic,
No peace had I, no stand.
Just a mis-identification,
I became the Little Man.
I took him for a person,
Hell, I thought that he was me!
He sure could be convincing,
that Little Man in me.

Then one day it happened,
I know not really why,
I looked out there below me
From some Great Eternal Sky.
He didn’t even notice,
So busy as a bee,
He just kept right on sleeping, but
that Little Man ain’t me!

One day looking in the mirror,
From my bed as I did stand,
I receded back behind him,
that sleeping Little Man.
He didn’t even notice,
Just a grain lost in the sand,
He can’t look back and see me,
that lonely Little Man.

I watch him and his pattern,
How he blends right in so well,
That his life and his surroundings
are no different from himself.
He has no greater vision,
Desire and fear are all he sees.
An actor in the TV,
that Little Man in me.

It’s a sad but true short story,
I cry a tear, and so does he,
He won’t survive, he lives to die,
the Little Man in me.


"Symphony of Spirit" by Naomi F. Stone

Painting by Rassouli — “Greeting the Dawn”

Every night I arise to sing,
to invite,
and to celebrate
the birth
 of sacramental love
in the opening of hearts,
as the earth and sky
reflect the brilliance of the light,
of each created moment,
of unnumbered seasons,
of the unexplored spaces of the soul,
of all that is possible
in the flashes of vision
radiantly given
through the divine
light of God.
In perfect stillness,
a cosmic beam
pierces time and splits
the universe
to let us touch
to feel and glimpse
the horizon
where heaven allows
its breathless beauty to mingle
with our own.
A Presence lingers
in the mystical movement
of every breath,
a sweet unfolding
 is poised to sweep
this human existence
into a transcendent realm
of union.
The songs slide
from my lips,
helplessly spinning
   words of love
into the music
of flowing streams
of spirit
already mingling
with your own.
— Naomi



"The Need to Win" by Chuang Tzu

The Need to Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing,
he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle,
he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold,
he goes blind or sees two targets.
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
but the prize divides him.

He cares.

He thinks more of winning than of shooting.
And the need to win drains him of power.

—Chuang Tzu


A young Japanese archer took great pride in the excellence of his marksmanship with a bow and arrow. Having read a lot of pithy Zen stories and received some basic training on mindfulness, he soon came to the conclusion that he was a true master of archery. So he decided to travel to a remote mountain monastery in order to challenge an old Zen master, who was reputed to have once possessed great skill with a bow and arrow.

After having arrived at this monastery he eventually managed to persuade the old Zen master to compete against him. The old man was reluctant to accept this challenge, as he had not touched his bow in many years. He first had to dust and wax his bow before testing its pliancy, then gently brush the cobwebs away from his quiver and arrows.

The young archer set up a straw target at eighty paces. He drew back the string of his lethal-looking bow, and released an arrow that sped straight into the central eye of the target. Then, notching and shooting a second arrow, he managed to split the shaft of his first arrow along its entire length. With great pride in his prowess he turned to the old man and said, "Now let me see what you can do."

Instead of notching an arrow the old master beckoned the youth to follow him. Leading the way up a steep and narrow path they eventually arrived at the top of a narrow gorge with sheer walls. A long and springy pine trunk bridged the top of this chasm, while far below two hundred feet of vertical cliff faces enclosed the turbulent roar of a mountain river, with sharp rocks protruding above the chaos of its thundering white waters. The old man stepped lightly onto the narrow pine trunk and walked briskly to its middle. He calmly strung his bow, drew an arrow from the quiver behind his shoulder, notched it, and then let it fly straight into the trunk of a tall and distant pine tree.

The young archer felt his heart rise to his throat when he saw how the pine trunk on which the old man stood was bouncing from the momentum of his bowshot. He could hardly even bear to look as he felt the paralyzing spasms of vertigo seizing control of his body. His stomach churned, his ears rang from dizziness, and the dark shadow of oblivion was threatening to eclipse his consciousness. The old man stepped lightly back from the narrow pine bridge and said, "Now let's see what you can do. Can you split my arrow from the middle of the pine bridge, or shall I do it for you?"

By now the young archer was on the verge of feinting, with a complete lack of control over every nerve and muscle in his body. He could not take one step towards that pine bridge, which was still quivering ominously. With trembling hands he grasped the old man's shoulders and pulled him back from the edge of the precipice. Then he fell limply to the ground, his trembling body hunched in a fetus posture, his heart and soul drained of all the strength, courage, pride and certainty that he always believed were his.

When the young archer had regained a bit more control and composure, the old man said to him: "You certainly have great skill with the bow and arrow. But you seem to have very little skill with the mind that controls these weapons. This is a dangerous predicament for an archer, especially when he has to face the reality of war, where violence can arise upon any kind of terrain and under any conditions. Pride, anger and fear are the inner enemies of every warrior. I have trained many young archers, and those who were afflicted with pride always tended to end up making me their target. When their arrow hit the mark they would always praise their own skill, but when the arrow went amiss they always blamed the straightness of the arrow."

The young man remained at the monastery for the rest of his days, though he no longer thought of himself as an archer or a master. In the course of time the old Zen master died and the younger man became his successor. Two unstrung bows and quivers of arrows still stand against the back wall of the monastery's storeroom, where the dust and cobwebs of many years have settled thickly upon them.


"Beauty" (excerpt) The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran

“High Tide & Green Octopi” by Peter Rudolfo

And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty."
Where shall you seek beauty,
and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her
except she be the weaver of your speech?
The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us
and the sky above us."
The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings.
She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs,
and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."
At night the watchmen of the city say,
"Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."

Click Here for Gibran’s Website


Romans Chapter 6 — Harry Priestly

There is a lot of confusion about salvation. And about repentance. Salvation has nothing to do with my beliefs, opinions, nor even my decisions. Nor does repentance consist of wringing my hands because I've been so bad. Repentance is a change of attitude, a new way of seeing things. "Repent and believe the good news." This is the command, and it's a living command. Now the key to our attitude in Romans 6 is "God be thanked because you have obeyed from your heart that form of doctrine unto which you were handed over" (RSV). God has given us a form of doctrine. Now doctrine simply means teaching. Sound doctrine is helpful teaching, healing teaching, teaching that liberates. What is the "sound doctrine" in Romans 6? Paul has been discussing justification. We have been justified by faith; we have peace with God. Romans 4 says ..to him that’ works not, but believes on him who counts righteous the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." In Romans 5, he says, "the law entered that sin might abound. And where sin did abound, grace did much more abound." Now, in Romans 6, he anticipates the objections of the legalists: "Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?" And today some are still saying "if you preach grace, and if the more sin abounds the more grace abounds, then let's sin that grace may abound." Paul knew that some would reason that way. Legalists reason that way. They say ..these grace preachers who preach grace, they're just giving license to sin." And so Paul says "they say that I say 'do evil that good might come.... And he says their damnation is just. In other words, those who oppose grace don't believe the Gospel, do they? What are they doing? They're worshipping their own wills, aren't they? Most Christians believe more in the power of their will than in the power of grace. Yet if we ever believed in grace, God would save us: All by Himself. God said leave out your contribution and receive my contribution. There's a sign over the gate of heaven: NO CONTRIBUTIONS ACCEPTED. This is the kingdom of God. We're on the gold standard here, and that gold is the redemptive truth of God. His righteousness, His power, His glory: streets of gold. This is not doing what you want to do. This is what you never dreamed of doing. If a person is living a spiritual life, he's walking in newness of life; he's doing what he doesn't know how to do. We all want to live beyond our means. And grace is the ability to live beyond our means.

QUESTION: What would happen to a person who would have that attitude, well I might as well sin that grace may abound?

Well, Paul, in answer to that, wrote the 6th chapter of Romans. How does the 6th chapter of Romans begin? "Shall we sin that grace might abound? God forbid.” Notice his theological answer. It's tremendous how the Word has an answer for all these things. "Such ones as we who died to sin, 'how can we any longer be living in it?" What is he saying? "As many as were baptized into Christ.." What is he 'referring to, "baptized into Christ"? By one spirit we're baptized. He is not talking about water baptism there. Water doesn't get you in; it takes the Spirit to get you in. Alright, "as many as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death." Now the Word says" in that he died [once], he died to sin once.” — right? Romans 6:10. "In that he lives, he lives unto God." Alright now, watch Romans 6:6 reads: "Knowing this, that the former man was nailed to the cross with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth (RSV) we should no longer be the bondservants of sin." "For as we were the bondservants of sin," Paul goes on to say later, "we have become the bondservants of righteousness." Were we prisoners of sin? Isn't it remarkable that the religious world hasn't too much difficulty, if they're 'fundamental' at all, in believing that Adam's sin affected everybody? But they have a lot of difficulty in believing that God's grace affects everybody. In other words, they believe that the power of sin is greater than the power of grace. That's what the average Christian believes. And so he says, "Oh, brother, I wish I had the victory. Will you pray for me that I have the victory? Please pray that I hold out until the end." I say, "Brother, I'm not going to pray that you hold out; I'm going to pray that you let go. I'm going to pray that you give up. I'm going to pray that you believe." When you believe, you come out from under the Law. Paul goes on to say, "Christ died unto sin once; likewise reckon yourselves also to be indeed dead unto sin." How many times? Once.

Many religious teachers today teach that every day we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin. And they use scriptures like "I die daily." If you look in the context of that particular passage, you see that Paul is talking about the resurrection. "If I fight with the beasts of Ephesus, what does it profit if the dead rise not?" Paul was literally facing death. The Jewish authorities were out to kill him. There were seventy men who had sworn to kill him. He was facing death all the time. He was stoned outside of Lystra. He goes on to explain why we can reckon ourselves dead to sin safely. "Let not therefore sin reign in your members." Now this is not an exhortation to cease from sinning. Paul is simply saying let New Covenant truth sink into your heart. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind..[for] sin shall not have dominion over you." Because "you are not under the law, but under grace." "The, strength of sin is the law." The attempt to be free from sin keeps you sinning--and is a sin: For an Adamic man to try to live a Christian life is sin. Why? What is the New Covenant? "In that day I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes." (Ezek.J6:27) It's not even willing. "My people shall be willing in the day of my power." Did Jesus say "My will"? No. He didn't worship his will. He said "not my will but thine be done." He was always affirming the Father in him. He was always calling attention not to himself but to the Father. The reason he does the will of the Father is because the Father is working in him to do his own will. Once you know that the Father is working in you to do his own will, you "work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you." You're 'fearful', lest you do anything at all that gets in the way: This is what Paul means. "I came among you not with words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit." He is careful lest he's wise. Be careful of cleverness. "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." So Paul says, "Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, you are his servant to obey~" Jesus is saying the same thing when he says, "He that serves sin is a servant of sin, but the servant abides not in his house forever; yet the Son is lord over his house forever." God knows how to live the spiritual life in you. Does the seed of a duck know how to act like a duck? Isn't it amazing that a duck comes out of an egg, takes to the water and floats. That duck doesn't even know he's a duck and he doesn't have to worry about being a duck. So, when you're born of the spirit, you don't have to learn to live like a Christian. You're born of God. You'll act like a Christian if you just go ahead and trust God. I know you say, "I do trust God, but I'm still not acting like a Christian." Just keep on, and you will. Here's even a scripture for that: "The God of peace will bruise Satan under your feet shortly." If you're knocked around in a storm, you may feel like you're going to be knocked over; but just keep on walking. You have a lot of strength in you. It looks like the wind is going to blow that oak over. Do you know what that oak does? It just gets its roots down deeper. If you can't handle things in the beginning of your spiritual life, just keep on praising the Lord; Christ will be formed in you, and pretty quick you'll sluff off things you don't at the beginning. Don't worry about Christians who come to the Lord and they're still smoking and drinking and this and that. As you keep ministering the Word, blessing them and praying for them, after a while they're going to forget all that. And not only that--smoking and drinking aren't the worst things. Some have all the answers. They're proud; they're vain. Those are the ones who are hard to minister to. The older you get in God, the less you talk. I'm not really giving you any explanations of how to live a Christian life. Have you heard any? You won't hear me trying to tell you how to live a Christian life, because I'd be trying to play God if I did that. I'm not going to give you a lot of directions because 1 don't know how to live it. And that doesn't give me any inferiority complex, believe me.

Someone' asked me the other day, ", "Do you commit any sins anymore?" There are a few sins I'd like to commit, but I just never get around to it. I just don't have time anymore. You know, it's no sin to be tempted. It's normal. In fact, that devil really isn't looking after his job if he doesn't bother you... I feel so depressed today.... I feel..., no wonder: With ten thousand devils around you. It's scriptural being depressed. "But I'm so perplexed.... Paul was perplexed. Yet he was an apostle. He said, "I am perplexed but not troubled." Here he was, an apostle. He was cast down, too. "But I am not in despair." Do you ever feel cast down? Don't despair. "Count it all joy," James says, "when you're in heaviness through temptation." The devil is always saying, "Oh, you're so weak, you're bound to sin now." And if you start listening to him, pretty soon you're acting just as he's suggesting. Be careful where you get your directions. Then there are those who want to help you. God deliver us from some people's help. "Have you got the victory, brother?" they say, inferring that you don't. Here's the thing to remember: we have Christ interceding for us. "He is able to save unto the uttermost all them who come unto God by him." "He ever lives to make intercession for us." Isn't it tremendous to know that we have a high priest interceding for us? Do you know that that is the only reason we do as well as we do? "Because I live, you shall live also." "He is able to save them who are tempted.... "He was tempted in all points as we are.." How can you possibly walk in newness of life if you don't believe you're free from sin? "I write these things unto you that you sin not," John says. What's he saying? The reason we have the Word is to liberate us from sin. What's a sword good for? It's to kill flesh, isn't it? The Word of God kills flesh, doesn't it? It liberates us from the flesh, rends the veil. When you hear the Word, you become free from the whole sin principle. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." So, it's not the theory of the old man, the former man, being dead or a process of reckoning him dead, or anything like that. The old nature just does not exist under the new covenant. Under the new covenant there is a new nature, and that new nature is Christ in you; and we are "flesh of his flesh", Paul says, "and bone of his bone." You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This body is sanctified by the Spirit.

QUESTION: Why are so many pushing this "dual nature" teaching?

Because they don't know any better. The reason they preach that is because of a misunderstanding of Romans 7 and Galatians 5, fundamentally. Romans 7 reads: "The good that I would, I do not; the evil that I would not, that I do." Who is Paul speaking of there? Of himself. Alright, what was his position in that experience? That of being under the Law. In the beginning of Romans 7 he says, "I write to them that know the Law." Now he says, "a woman is bound by the law of her husband as long as he lives, but when he's dead, she is free to be married to whom she will." Who were we married to under the old covenant? To Adam, weren't we? And Adam was under the Law, right? The Jews were an earthly people, bound under the Law. The new covenant people are a heavenly people born from above. That new birth is a birth in the New Jerusalem. And the New Jerusalem is the Church. The scripture says that God has sanctified the Church and that he cleanses it by "the washing of the water by the Word." "Now are you clean through the word I have spoken to you." Are we ministering the Word? Are we meditating? Is it cleansing you? Does it release you from all your old beliefs? "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." Isn't that wonderful? We wouldn't have to have an ecumenical movement. We wouldn't have to be Baptists or Presbyterians or Catholics. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, He would be our religion, wouldn't He? Isn't Jesus glorified? Doesn't he say "I am the Way"? Is this sound theology? He. Jesus didn't say that the Bible is your salvation. He said "Search the scriptures; in them you think you have eternal life; but they are they which testify of me." It's the Christ of the Bible who saves us, isn't it? And if you don't see Christ in the Bible, you're still not saved, are you? If you don't see Christ in the Bible, you're still under the Law. "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes." And we're not talking about the Jesus walking the earth in the flesh; we're talking about the Jesus who died and rose again and came back through the Spirit and is living in us. This puts us in Bible times. This puts us in the resurrection. And this glorifies us. Jesus said "A strong man armed keeps his house, until a stronger comes." What was the strong man armed? Indwelling sin under the Law. "The strength of sin is the Law." That's pretty strong, isn't it? "What the Law could not do (Romans 8), God, sending his only son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh"--judged sin in the flesh--"that we might fulfill the righteousness of the Law, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Now, walking in the Spirit means walking in the light of the risen Christ. It means believing the Gospel. "Only believe and you'll see the glory of God." If you want to see the glory of God the rest of your life, walk in the Spirit. "Walk in the Spirit" means believe that the Spirit is in you and that you're in the Spirit. That's going to save you a lot of research. Someone asked me "How do you know you're free right now?" The Gospel delivered me from the investigation. Once you're saved, you never have to check. The only reason you examine yourself now is to see if you're in the faith. If you're believing. Are you a little nervous? Just start believing. Just start praising the Lord; speak in a spiritual tongue; shout hallelujah; bless somebody. How long does it take to get rid of the devil? As long as you believe that he has the power to hinder you, you're letting him. When you believe that he hasn't and that God is running the whole show, the devil doesn't have a chance. You're rid of him. Now, it's true that the manifestation may be around for a while, but "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Just go ahead and rest and praise the Lord, and pretty soon that crushed serpent will stop wiggling. He's going to give up. Did you ever watch a little child trying to get your attention, and you didn't pay any attention, and after a while he went off to play with his toys? You watch dogs who's trained not to eat scraps from the table… he knows that the family won't give him any scraps, but when a stranger comes, he's right there at his knee, trying to con this stranger. Kids are like that. There's a new person there, and they act up. They take advantage "of the situation, because they know their parents don't want a scene. But in the Spirit realm, we don't allow this. No matter whether there’s man, devil, or whatever around, we just have 'business as usual'. Everything's just the same. We don't pay any attention. We just take our liberty. When tempted to say we're sick, we say we're well. Or we don't say anything. Because "Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." That's "divine healing". What doctrine do you believe? The doctrine of Christ. It heals you, justifies you, sanctifies you, glorifies you, all at once. The one work of grace does it all, gets you into the heavenly places, makes you ready for the coming of the Lord, that is, the revelation of divine Love. "He who has this hope purifies himself." We purify ourselves by believing.

QUESTION: How does a person minister these things?

It is impossible semantically to get a message across to anybody spiritually, from a human standpoint. It takes the Holy Spirit to make real what you have to give. Remember that when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, was visiting Elizabeth, John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth. There was communication there. And it wasn't in Greek or Hebrew. As you function in the Spirit, God is able to make known to people the reality of God - in you. Deep calls unto deep. "The Lord speaks unto my Lord." [Psa.llO] Light responds to light. The preaching of the Gospel is humanly foolish. I was speaking to an occult group in Seattle one time, and after a while someone stood up and said "Not one of us here is accepting what you say." I told him: "If you could accept it, it wouldn't be the truth." We talk about accepting Christ as our personal Savior; but none of us dot'>it. Nobody ever does. "By grace are we saved, and that not of ourselves." Because "the goodness of God leads us to repentance." , No, we 'can't take any credit. Now, it's very easy to say "I've accepted Christ" after God has made him known to you; but isn't it a little late to talk about a decision after you already know him? Peter was blessed before he could do anything. "Blessed art thou, Peter; flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father.." Peter suddenly realized who Jesus is. It's upon this rock that the Church is built~-the revelation of who Jesus is. A lot of people think that you have to do something to 'overcome'. "Who is he who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Christ~" Once you realize that Jesus rose from the dead and that he sent the Holy Spirit, you are an overcomer before you can do anything. The new birth is a revelation. It is not that God is going to do something; it is that God is. That's the rock. "I am that I am." Now God of course is always active. God is not an idea. "He who created the ear, does he not hear? He who created the eye, does he not see?" The Spirit is always active. We're not in a séance, waiting for something to happen. If you flow in the Spirit, you don't have time to have a theory. Your theology is this river flowing in you. The spiritual life is Christ in action.

The Church is not built upon any man [Peter]. The life on which the Church rests is the creative life of God, in Jesus Christ. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid." That Rock all the way through scripture is Christ. It's a stumbling stone, until we see it. It's death to us when we do see it. When the stone sank in, Goliath came to an end. And Goliath means "the exiled one." When you hear this Word, all your wooden religion comes to an end. Remember, Goliath's god was wooden? The presence of God breaks the neck of Dagon. He fell on his face before the ark of God. When you hear the word of God, your old wooden god's neck is broken. Don't screw his head back on. Don't paint him up any more. All your help is not going to help Dagon. His neck is broken. David slew Goliath with a stone, and no one in Israel could get rid of the flesh realm but David. Conventional Christendom presents a wooden religion. So-called deep teachers tell you to get rid of the Old Man, your unregenerate nature. And while they promise you liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption, "counting unholy the blood of the covenant, trampling underfoot the Son of God, doing outrage to the Spirit of grace." Preachers of sin, putting you under the Law. If sin exists under the new covenant, the blood of Christ does not cleanse. The Old Testament blood of bulls and goats did not remove sin. "He was manifested once in the end of the age to put away sin." "We are dead to the Law by the body of Christ, married to him that is raised from the dead, to bring forth fruit unto-God." This, then, is the key to Romans 7: "When we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the Law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." Paul is saying that the Law was spiritual, just and good, but that I am carnal, sold under sin. "The good that I would, I do not." He is saying that we had to come to Christ. As he puts it in Romans 8: "There is now no judgment, no condemnation--to them who are in Christ Jesus..The law of the spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death." Walking in the Spirit means walking in the light of the new covenant; that's all it means. Proof of this is in Corinthians. The Word says that if the giving of the Law was so glorious that the Israelites couldn't regard the face of Moses, how can the giving of the Spirit not be far more glorious~. . the administration of condemnation -by the Law-- had no glory by reason of the ministry of the Spirit that far exceeds it. There was a great glory under the old covenant. Look at the cloud and pillar of fire that guided the children of Israel..the tremendous experience of the Red Sea. Yet, Moses didn't bring man' into the Promised Land. And Joshua didn't give them rest. "There remaineth a rest for the people of God." Only the Gospel of God--., God coming down and liberating me--brings me into rest. The reason that most of the religious world isn't entering into a rest is because they have never seen that sin has been dealt with. Oh, they have some theory of it, but they've never seen it or heard it. It's hearing that Word. As long as you take that Word as a process of reckoning, you miss the point. Your reckoning does not make anything true. The only reason you can reckon yourself dead to sin is because you ~ dead to sin. Everything under the new covenant is counting on something that is a fact, spiritually speaking. You confess the Word, and God will back you up. Good News for Modern Man translates: "The Holy Spirit has come to show the world that they are wrong about sin." The world's wrong about sin. The world thinks that sin is doing bad things. That's not it at all. Sin is serving oneself instead of God~ There are a lot of atheists who live good, moral lives in the generally accepted sense given to morality. But God says "All your righteousness--all your morality--is as filthy rags!'..because you don't worship me. There are a lot of people who wouldn't think of robbing a bank, but they won't worship God; and if you praise the Lord, they get after you. There are a lot of denominational, fundamental people out there who wouldn't think of doing any of these things..they, wouldn't smoke or drink, but they won't enter in with you in worship. They're offended if you praise God. They call you a "holy roller", a fanatic if you shout hallelujah. Yet they think that they are serving God. The Jews were criticizing Jesus all the time. And they were going around believing that they were really serving God. But they weren't serving God; they were sinning. Yet they wouldn't dream of not paying their tithes. "Thank God we're not like other people," the religious people were thinking. They wouldn't think of committing adultery. They wouldn't think of doing all these things. But Jesus said "except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you'll in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God."

We think, because we go to church and observe a few rules, that God notices. The truth is that the only time he notices us is when we honor his Son. I may have just gone out and done something very wrong. But then I am sorry. And I come in and give thanks to God for his justification, for his grace; and God gives me everything. The older brother said, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, "Well, look, I never did anything bad, yet I don't get anything; but look at all he did, and you give him everything." You know why? Because God said there is no difference--"All have sinned and come short of the glory
of God. We think: "I'm glad that fellow was hanged." How about you? You should be, too. That fellow got caught. Aren't you glad they haven't seen what you've done? ..we're driving along at fifty miles and hour and an officer stops us and says that I was going seventy. I'm very self-righteous.. "I wasn't going seventy, officer"; and I'm telling the truth. Of course, I don't tell him that a half-hour earlier I was going ninety. But I'm very self-righteous. He didn't see me doing that. How self-righteous we are. "Today," I say, "I didn't do anything wrong." I'm just glad I don't remember about yesterday. When we begin to see--it's in our human estate, in Adam--we see we're sinning all of the time. We recognize that Jesus said "He that sins is a servant of sin." "A strong man armed keeps his house." Now when we understand this, we'll understand what it means that Jesus was manifested "to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." How he judged the Prince of this world: And we don~' t have to get some mystical concept about this--that the foundation of sin is Adam. Make no mistake about it. "By one man's disobedience, death passed upon all." And the god of this world is man. Man has created a world, and it's coming to an end--praise the Lord. Man doesn't know how to run this world any more, did you know that? Any President we ever elect, he won't know what to do. Don't blame the President; he's doing the best job of juggling anybody could do, probably. Out robbing Peter to pay Paul; it's a con game up there' on the hill'. Trying to bluff the Russians, and the Russians bluffing the Americans.. Actually, the end of this world has come. Nothing is going to work out. Yet, everything is going to work out. The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of Christ in God. God's coming in "as a thief"; he's pouring out his Spirit today. You know, after a while we're all going to forget about presidents; we're all going to forget about being Democrats or Republicans. Oh, what bliss: We're going to quit bugging one another with tapes, spying on one another.. Nixon wasn't the only one doing it. He got caught. Everybody very self-righteously was trying him. The Russians wonder why we were all so upset. It's normal for them. They've got everything bugged: The religious world is like that, too. "Thank God we don't believe like the Presbyterians." "Thank God I go to the right church." "I know I'm right." Wouldn't it be wonderful if we just had Jesus? Pentecostals say: "that fellow, all he's got is salvation, poor fellow." All I want is salvation. Just salvation. I don't want as much as some people have--they hate everybody. If you get too much salvation, you hate everybody. "I don't smoke; I don't drink; I'm wholly sanctified." PETRIFIED. Do you know what 'wholly sanctified' is? It's the ability to forget about sin. Forget about yourself; concentrate on Him... Holiness doesn't know sin. Holiness doesn't know anything about evil. Paul said "I would have you ignorant concerning evil." God said to Israel "How long, Oh Israel, ere you will attain unto innocency?" Salvation is becoming innocent like a little child. We've been justified as though we'd never sinned. God doesn't see sin in the universe any more. He thinks he's saved us. Too bad he doesn't have very many agreeing with him yet: Do you know what "reconciliation" is? That's agreeing with what he's done. Our sin is that we don't believe it. "Acquaint now 'thyself with him and be at peace." NOW. "Thereby good shall come unto thee." Isn't that wonderful? You don't have to run after it. "The blessings of the Lord shall overtake thee, in that good land." Isn't it wonderful? If we will just be still enough, the blessings of the Lord will overtake us. A friend of mine was walking down a black alley in Los Angeles, and he heard footsteps behind him; and he walked faster. Finally, he was so nervous that he called out "Who are you?" And a voice answered "Goodness and Mercy": 0 Following him down a dark alley.. Hallelujah. Stand still, and goodness and mercy will catch up with you and bless you.

Look at what God says: "Come unto me and be delivered, all the ends of the earth, for I am the Lord; beside me there is no other:" Some may ask, "Don't you believe in the devil?" In the Book of Job it says that when the sons of God came before God, Satan came with them. Hardly anybody goes to a prayer meeting and doesn't bring the devil along. You don't have to have another power to get messed up. Your own ignorance will do it. You don't need a lot of teaching. Your own opinions are enough to flounder you. Of course, other people are prejudiced; y~~ have opinions. Others are 'fanatical; you have zeal. Isn't it something how we can see everybody else's darkness? Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could see mine, and see through it? But: "He that believes has entered into rest." Well, are we out of our dual nature? That sinner out there doesn't have a dual nature; a sinner doesn't have sin; he is a child of wrath. He doesn't have sin; he's it. He's dead, entirely dead. There's nothing good in him. But when he's born of the Spirit, he's entirely good. Everything about him is good, because Christ is dwelling in him. "The" Son is Lord over his house forever." That "strong man armed" came to an end. Where? At the cross. When I see that Jesus was made sin and that he bore our sins, how can he have them and we have them, too? The Word says "He abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." Yet, you start talking like this, and you see people draw back. This is a typical Christian: "Oh, but everybody dies; don't you read the papers?" Is that where you get your revelations? The Los Angeles Examiner? The New York Times? "Let every man be a liar, but only God the truth." No matter what Christians believe, they believe in hell, right? In any theology class, if they don't have a doctrine of God, they have a doctrine of Satan. This is what's emphasized in theology. In theology, we know all about the devil, but we know very little about God. If you look in the Scriptures, you see that there's very little said about the devil, really. Read any book on Satan and watch how vague these theologians are. Amazing expertise on the origins of Satan. What imagination these writers have. We've all heard about what a high being he was. Yet you open the Bible and what a different picture you get: "He was a liar from the beginning." The devil doesn't like this kind of theology. doesn't get any glory. QUESTION: What attitude should be taken about the 14th chapter of Isaiah in the passage about Lucifer?
He "Lucifer" is a Latin word meaning "light-bearing", or "shining", and is the name the Romans gave to the morning star, the planet Venus. "Morning star", "day star", and "Lucifer" are poetic appellations. It's amazing how much teaching is based on that chapter. The word Lucifer is only used once in scripture. What is a principle of Bible interpretation? Grab one verse and believe it? No scripture is of private interpretation. You have to have other scriptures on things. "In the mouths of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." The word Lucifer only appears once in the .,Bible, and in this verse of Isaiah it is referring to the Prince of Babylon. Read the whole context. It's talking about a city and the king of Babylon, an historical figure. Look at another passage in Ezekiel where he is talking about the city of Tyre lifted up to the skies. A lot of terms in scripture are very figurative. Jesus said to Peter" "Get thee behind me, Sa tan." Peter had made a mistake. "For thou smackest of the things that be of man and not of God. "

The words man, moon, month, mind have a common origin. Our measurements come from the moon--days, months, times and years. "Man" means the measurer, literally. In Sanskrit, a language as ancient as Hebrew, perhaps more so, the word ~ means a weight. He is. He's a measurement. "Are not ye carnal and walk like [measurements] men?" Man is a bushel over light. And circumcision represents the end of man, at the cross. The foreskin, in scripture, stands for man as the veil on the head of creation, and which the priest removed. Our high priest has removed the veil. Before Israel went into the land of Promise, every male child had to be circumcised, and that place of circumcision was called the Hill of Foreskins. What the hill stands for in scripture is the revelation. that the flesh has been dealt with, and no one can get into the Promised Land until flesh has been dealt with. , Saul was the first king of Israel, head and shoulders above everyone else, and he stands for the wooden religious world. But David was the man after God's own heart. Saul was the formalist. He couldn’t get rid of Goliath, and he spared Agag. Agag is the flesh. Saul needed a fourth hand at bridge. And Agag was a nice guy. So he put him on the Board. Oh, God, deliver us from church boards: David slew Goliath; Saul let Agag be. Business as usual. Samuel, the prophet, took his sword, and Agag came out mincingly-a picture of effeminate religion. Samuel "hewed him to pieces before the Lord." The ministry of the prophetic spirit destroys the false religious spirit.

—Harry Priestly 9-29-77

The Way to Love ~ Week One (Excerpts from the 'Way to Love' book) by Anthony De Mello

The Way to Love ~ Week One (Excerpts from the 'Way to Love' book)

"After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”

Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a thing, a situation, as it really is and not as you imagine it to be, and to give it the response it deserves. You cannot love what you do not even see.

And what prevents you from seeing? Your concepts, your categories, your prejudices and projections, your needs and attachments, the labels you have drawn from your conditioning and from your past experiences.

To drop your conditioning in order to see is arduous enough. But seeing calls for something more painful still. The dropping of the control that society exercises over you....You were given a taste for the drug called Approval, Appreciation, Attention, the drug called Success, Prestige, Power....You must tear away from your being the roots of society that have penetrated to the marrow. You must drop out. Externally everything will go on as before, you will continue to be in the world, but no longer of it. And in your heart you will now be free at last and utterly alone....To come to the land of love, you have to pass through the pains of death, for to love persons is to have died to the need for persons and to be utterly alone. How would you ever get there?

1 By ceaseless awareness and the infinite patience and compassion that you would have for a drug addict. SCRIPTURE, WORSHIP, CHARITY TELL GOD OF A PERSECUTION--SELF KNOWLEDGE (TF, P 39)

2 Undertake activities that you can do with your whole being. While you are engaged in them success or approval simply do not mean a thing to you.

3 Return to Nature: Send the crowds away and go up into the mountain....THE LIBERATION (WELL SPRINGS) 
Then you will know that your heart has brought you into the vast desert of solitude....If you manage to stay there for a while the desert will suddenly blossom into Love


"Kingdom of Heaven" (from Omega Retreat) Eckhart Tolle


Kingdom of Heaven - a dimension of vast spaciousness

And the moment your “thinking mind” ceases between two thoughts, what is left of you? 
A spaciousness that at first seems like nothing and then you sense it is a Presence. 
It is essentially who I am. 
And to live in connectedness with that, and as that, is the foundation for your life— that is awakened living. 
That is why we are here.

Finding a Piece of the Truth — Parable


One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.”

“Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked.
“No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

“LOVE” (from 1st Corinthians 13) by Joni Mitchell 


Although I speak in tongues
of men and angels
I'm just sounding brass
and tinkling cymbals without love

Love suffers long
Love is kind!
Enduring all things
Love has no evil in mind

If I had the gift of prophecy
And all the knowledge
And the faith to move the mountains
Even if I understood all of the mysteries
If I didn't have love
I'd be nothing

Love never looks for love
Love's not puffed up
Or envious
Or touchy
Because it rejoices in the truth
Not in iniquity
Love sees like a child sees

As a child I spoke as a child
I thought and I understood as a child
But when I became a woman
I put away childish things
And began to see through a glass darkly

Where as a child I saw it face to face
Now I only know it in part
Fractions in me
Of faith and hope and love
And of these great three
Love's the greatest beauty

“LOVE” (from 1 Corinthians 13)
by Joni Mitchell 

"Maybe" — a Zen Parable

Farmer - C
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who, for many many years, worked on his farm. One day it happened that his only horse ran away from him. When his neighbors heard the news, they immediately came to visit the farmer and called out:
“Such bad luck!”.
“Maybe,” the old farmer replied.

Not long, the horse returned again. Not only that, it even brought three other wild horses along.
“What a luck!” his neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe” was the farmers response.

After a while the farmers son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown by the untamed horse and broke his leg. Again his neighbors came and started to spread the word about his misfortune.
“Maybe” was his answer again.

The day after that, some military officials visited the village to draft young and strong men into the army. But since his son’s leg was broken, the officials passed him by. The neighbors were surprised how nicely things had turned out and congratulated the farmer.
“Maybe” was all he said.

"Village of Creatures" — Richard Bach

Rapid River
Richard Bach Quotations

Once there lived a village of creatures on the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."

The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!"

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See
a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"

And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."

But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Savior."


"Civilization" — Mahatma Gandhi


“Civilization, in the real sense of the term,
consists not in the multiplication,
but the in the deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants.
This alone promotes real happiness and contentment,
and increases the capacity for service.”

-------------------------------------------—Mahatma Gandhi


"A Passion Not Tamed By Words" — (excerpt from) The Couples Tao Te Ching by William Martin

Painting by Lauri Blank

Spinning words together to create vows
will not unite two souls.
Pouring over words in marriage manuals
will not pour spirit into a relationship.
Words may speak of love
but they cannot create it.

The union of one soul with another
is born of a passion that must not be tamed by words.
Let your words be tools of this passion,
not barriers to it.

Words emerging from love's furnace
will be few but powerful.
A few words of understanding
may heal a wounded heart.
A few words of wisdom
may comfort a lonely soul.
A few words of sensuous longing
may kindle love's embraces.

William Martin’s Website

An Old Buddhist Story

An Old Buddhist Story

In ancient times there was a small village with a monastery nearby. One day, samurai warriors arrived and sacked the whole village. They took all the valuables, burned the homes, and killed all the people they met. Finally, they came to a monastery, and out in front of this monastery was an old Zen master. He is just sitting in the garden when a young samurai warrior comes up to him. The samurai pulls out his sword, holds it up over his head and says, “Old man, don’t you know that I have the power to kill you? I could lop off your head right now without even thinking of it.”

And the old man just looks up at him and replies, “Don’t you know that I could allow you to cut off my head right now without thinking of it?”

Now, at this the warrior drops his sword to his side for a moment. He’s never met someone who had no fear of his own death, and so this old man intrigues him. And the old man says, “Oh, look at how weak you are.” So once again the samurai lifts the sword over his head, and the old Zen master looks up at him and says, “That’s hell.” These words strike the samurai, and again he drops his sword; and the old man says, “And that’s heaven.” With that, the warrior bowed to the old Zen master and left him in peace.


"Prayer" (excerpt) THE LUNAR TAO by Deng Ming Dao

“Do So In Prayer” by Samantha Rochard


by Deng Ming Dao

Prayer is simple.

Pressing your palms together is a universal gesture of prayer, benediction, gratitude, and humility. It signals that you are unifying all aspects of yourself and that you are completely present. No one can pick up a weapon or form a fist with palms pressed together. In prayer, there can be no aggression.

Some people doubt prayer. They declare that there are no gods to listen. Prayer works—because that higher part of ourselves is listening—and it works instantly: the very act of prayer is its own truth and its own reward.

We have to free ourselves of childish expectations; we must not pray like children whining to our parents. We must also reject any latent feudalism in our hearts: we still call our gods “lords” and act like serfs begging for consideration. Neither infantile wailing nor medieval supplication is the prayer we need.

Without a doubt, we all have problems. We all have misfortunes. We all face times that try us to our souls. Nevertheless, we cannot go to a temple and order up a solution by bargaining on our knees. In all of history there has never been a single person that the gods raised to float above the earth. Every person has had to walk on the ground, experiencing both good and bad.

We say “I need to pull myself together” when we’re frazzled. If we look at that statement literally, we can see how helpful it is to put our hands together. Press palm to palm, breathe deeply.

When you pray, there is no brand on you that says “Taoist," “Buddhist,” or “Confucianist.” Don’t worry about what kind of prayer you’re making. A sincere prayer is far more important than a crafted or dictated one.

You’re you, a whole person. Give yourself some time to be quiet at the end of each day. If you’re faced with a big decision, take refuge in silence. Put your hands together. Trust yourself to do the right thing. You’ll know instantly.

The gods will instantly appear because we came from One and
remain part of One.

Click Here for Deng Ming Dao’s Website

"Can’t" by Edgar Guest

“Manto Negro” by Paulo Themudo


Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;

On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.

It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:

It rings in our ears like a timely sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and halfhearted work;

It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.

It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;

It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;

Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man’s purpose and shortens his aim.

Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;

Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you someday shall gain.

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;

Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.

Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;

Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”

Autumn Promise by Rebecca Braun

—-Journeys With Watercolors

It’s been a year.
Autumn is here to remind me
of the reflection.

A sweet progression
of time. As each leaf changes color,
falling and drifting in the wind,
memories are being cast away
from my mind.

New Life is dreaming,
old paths are fading, in the streaming
sunlight of this soft chilly morn.

©2014 Rebecca Braun All rights reserved.


"Coming to Life" - Zen Koan

There’s a man way high up in a tree and he’s hanging from a branch by his teeth.
Holding on to the branch by his teeth. And of course if he lets go he’ll fall to his death,
and so he’s in quite a predicament, and his hands are tied behind him so he can’t
reach up and grab the branch. And so just imagine there you are, holding onto a
branch way high up in a tree by your teeth, and you’re weakening and you can
feel your impending death coming because you’re just about to have to let go of
this branch. And just about that time some little Zen master walks in, walks in the scene,
looks up at you and says ‘Say the one true thing that can save your life.’

Genghis Khan and His Hawk  by James Baldwin, (The Book of Virtues)

“Redtail” by Mike Toft

One morning Genghis Khan, the great king and warrior, rode out into the woods to have a day's sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.

It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening.

On the king's wrist sat his favorite hawk, for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow.

All day long Genghis Khan and his huntsmen rode through the woods. But they did not find as much game as they expected.

Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer road through a valley between two mountains.

The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His pet hawk left his wrist and flown away. It would be sure to find its way home.

The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of clear water near this pathway. If he could only find it now! But the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks.

At last, to his joy, he saw some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time.

The king leaped from his horse. He took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.

All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk.

The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops.

This time he did not wait so long. When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

And now the king began to grow angry. He tried again, and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.

The king was now very angry indeed.

"How do you dare to act so?" he cried. "If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!"

Then he filled his cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.

"Now, Sir Hawk," he said, "that is the last time."

He had hardly spoken before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand. But the king was looking for this. With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.

The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master's feet.

"That is what you get for your pains," said Genghis Khan.

But when he looked for his cup, he found that it had fallen between two rocks, where he could not reach it.

"At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring," he said to himself.

With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.

At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it? It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind.

The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.

"The hawk saved my life!" he cried, "and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him."

He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home. He said to himself,

"I have learned a sad lesson today, and that is, never to do anything in anger."