Mindfulness Poetry for Transformation

 

Self-Observation Without Judgment (Danna Faulds)

Release the harsh and pointed inner
voice. it's just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift
out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

i can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What's needed here isn't more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy - seeing clearly, and
embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.
 From “One Soul”

 


 

Breath of Life (Danna Faulds)

I breathe in All That Is-
Awareness expanding
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.
From the unnamed vastness beneath the
mind, I breathe my way to wholeness and healing.
Inhalation. Exhalation.
Each Breath a "yes,"
and a letting go, a journey, and a coming home.

 


 

Awakening Now (Danna Faulds)

Why wait for your awakening?
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself,
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true nature.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don't continue to believe
in your stories of deficiency and failure.
This is the day of your awakening.

 


 

Birthright (Danna Faulds)

Despite illness of body or mind, in spite of blinding despair or habitual belief, who you are is whole.

Let nothing keep you separate from the truth. The soul, illumined from within, longs to be known for what it is.

Undying, untouched by fire or the storms of life, there is a place inside where stillness and abiding peace reside.You can ride the breath to go there.

Despite doubt or hopeless turns of mind, you are not broken. Spirit surrounds, embraces, fills you from the inside out. Release everything that isn't your true nature. What's left, the fullness, light and shadow, claim all that as your birthright.

 


 

Walk Slowly (Danna Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn't a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I'm going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.

 


 

Allow (Danna Faulds)

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.  
 From “Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga”

 


 

Limitless (Danna Faulds)

Sun says, “Be your own
illumination.” Wren says,
“Sing your heart out,
all day long.” Stream says,
 “Do not stop for any
obstacle.” Oak says,
“When the wind blows,
bend easily, and trust
your roots to hold.”
Stars say, “What you see
is one small slice of a
single modest galaxy.
Remember that vastness
cannot be grasped by mind.”
Ant says, “Small does not
mean powerless.” Silence
says nothing. In the quiet,
everything comes clear.
I say, “Limitless.” I say,
“Yes.”

 


 

The Open Door (Danna Faulds)

A door opens. Maybe I've been standing here shuffling my weight from foot to foot for decades, or maybe I only knocked once. In truth, it doesn't matter. A door opens and I walk through without a backward glance. This is it, then, one moment of truth in a lifetime of truth; a choice made, a path taken, the gravitational pull of Spirit too compelling to ignore any longer. I am received by something far too vast to see. It has roots in antiquity but speaks clearly in the present tense. "Be," the vastness says. "Be without adverbs, descriptors, or qualities. Be so alive that awareness bares itself uncloaked and unadorned. Then go forth to give what you alone can give, awake to love and suffering, unburdened by the weight of expectations. Go forth to see and be seen, blossoming, always blossoming into your magnificence."

 


 

Who You Are (Danna Faulds)

Who you are is so much more than what you do. The essence, shining through the heart, soul, and center, the bare and bold truth of you does not lie in your to-do list. You are not just at the surface of your skin, not just the impulse to arrange the muscles of your face into a smile or a frown, not jut boundless energy, or bone wearying fatigue. Delve deeper. You are divinity; the vast and open sky of spirit. It's the light of God, the ember at your core, the passion and the presence, the timeless, deathless essence of you that reaches out and touches me. Who you are transcends fear and turns suffering into liberation. Who you are is love.

 


 

Let it Go (Danna Faulds)

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold:
the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide.
The choice to fight what is here before you now will
only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts
to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes
through your days whether you received it gently
or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith; the mind may never find the
explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward
nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams
or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of
rest and peace, and certain transformation.

 


 

Breaking All the Rules (Danna Faulds)

There are moments when rules are meant to be broken; when bursting out of context is the sole way to see with new eyes. There are fences built only to be torn down. The slats look solid, but no one drove the nails in tight. There are barricades around the heart asking to be breached. Sooner or later we all run out of excuses for staying small and safe.

 


 

Let Go of Something (Danna Faulds)

Let go of something, somewhere.
Use yoga to become aware,
to touch what lies beneath
the surface of the skin.
Is there tension longing
for release; a knot of
fear so deep and familiar
that you believe it's
part of who you are?
Ease into dark corners,
locked rooms, unexplored
hallways. Gain entry
not by force or will
but only by softness.
Enter on the wings of
breath, and turn the
key of self-acceptance
to let go of something,
somewhere.

 


 

Whatever Doesn’t Serve (Danna Faulds) 

What weight can you
put down right now,
willingly relinquishing
the pointed quills of
guilt or judgment?
What burden of the heart
can lift, what dark corner
can be lit, the candle
flickering at first, then
burning bright?
With the next breath,
let it go, that old story
you’ve told yourself
a million times.
Whatever doesn’t serve
you on this path of truth,
leave it behind. Offer
this one gift: the simple
sacrifice that in the giving
sets you free to fully live.

 


 

(Danna Faulds) 

This is what I have to stay to you. You know all that you need to know. You already are all that you need to be. It remains only for you to recognize and acknowledge who you are, what you know, and the powerful presence that is awake within you. You think of yourself as fragile, but you are, in fact, strong. You sometimes feel alone, but you are, in truth, connected through Spirit to all beings. Believe in this connection. Believe in yourself. That is all you need to do, for all is well.

 


 

The Journey (Mary Oliver)

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

 


 

Lingering in Happiness (Mary Oliver)

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole's tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

 


 

The Summer Day (Mary Oliver)

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-the one who the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

 


 

Wild Geese (Mary Oliver)

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 


 

What Do We Know (Mary Oliver)

The sky cleared
I was standing
under a tree.

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment

at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain —
imagine! Imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

 


 

Messenger (Mary Oliver)

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

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

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

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

 


 

Toad (Mary Oliver)

I was walking by. He was sitting there.
It was full morning, so the heat was heavy on his sand-colored
head and his webbed feet. I squatted beside him, at the edge
of the path. He didn't move.
I began to talk. I talked about summer, and about time. The
pleasures of eating, the terrors of the night. About this cup
we call a life. About happiness. And how good it feels, the
heat of the sun between the shoulder blades.
He looked neither up nor down, which didn't necessarily
mean he was either afraid or asleep. I felt his energy, stored
under his tongue perhaps, and behind his bulging eyes.
I talked about how the world seems to me, five feet tall, the
blue sky all around my head. I said, I wondered how it seemed
to him, down there, intimate with the dust.
He might have been Buddha — did not move, blink, or frown,
not a tear fell from those gold-rimmed eyes as the refined
anguish of language passed over him.

 


 

May (Mary Oliver)

What lay on the road was no mere handful of snake. It was the copperhead at last, golden under the street lamp. I hope to see everything in this world before I die. I knelt on the road and stared. Its head was wedge-shaped and fell back to the unexpected slimness of neck. The body itself was thick, tense, electric. Clearly this wasn¹t black snake looking down from the limbs of a tree, or green snake, or the garter, whizzing over the rocks. Where these had, oh, such shyness, this one had none. When I moved a little, it turned and clamped its eyes on mine; then it jerked toward me. I jumped back and watched as it flowed on across the road and down into the dark. My heart was pounding. I stood a while, listening to the small sounds of the woods and looking at the stars. After excitement we are so restful. When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive.

 


 

The Faces of Deer (Mary Oliver)

When for too long I don't go deep enough
into the woods to see them, they begin to
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the
pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life
full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each
animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches
then lifts away from the ground. Unless you
believe that heaven is very near, how will you
find it? Their eyes are pools in which one
would be content, on any summer afternoon,
to swim away through the door of the world.
Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven.

 


 

What I Have Learned So Far (Mary Oliver)

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads - of indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

 


 

Picking Blueberries (Mary Oliver)

Once, in summer,
In the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
When a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
She was so busy with her own happiness
She had grown careless
And was just wandering along

Listening
To the wind as she leaned down
To lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

With nothing between us
But a few leaves, and the wind's
Glossy voice
Shouting instructions.

The deer
Backed away finally
And flung up her white tail
And went floating off toward the trees -

But the moment before she did that
Was so wide and so deep
It has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her -

The flower of her amazement
And the stalled breath of her curiosity,
And even the damp touch of her solicitude
Before she took flight-

To be absent again from this world
And alive, again, in another,
For thirty years
sleepy and amazed,

Rising out of the rough weeds
Listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
Where are you?

 


 

The Peace of Wild Things (Wendell Berry)

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 


 

The Hidden Singer (Wendell Berry)

The gods are less for their love of praise.
Above and below them all is a spirit that needs nothing
but its own wholeness, its health and ours.
It has made all things by dividing itself.
It will be whole again.
To its joy we come together --
the seer and the seen, the eater and the eaten,
the lover and the loved.
In our joining it knows itself. It is with us then,
not as the gods whose names crest in unearthly fire,
but as a little bird hidden in the leaves
who sings quietly and waits, and sings.
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet around me
like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places where I left them
asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings and I hear its song.
Than what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings and I hear its song.

 


 

Grace (Wendell Berry)

The Wood is shining this morning.
Red. Gold and green. The leaves
Lie on the ground, or fall,
Or hang full of light in the air still.
Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes
The place it has been coming to forever.
It has not hastened here, or lagged.
See how surely it has sought itself,
Its roots passing lordly through the earth.
See how without confusion it is
All that it is, and how flawless
Its grace is. Running or walking, the way
Is the same. Be still. Be still.

 


 

The Real Work (Wendell Berry)

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."

 


 

The Clear Days (Wendell Berry)

The dogs of indecision
Cross and cross the field of vision.
A cloud, a buzzing fly
Distract the lover's eye.
Until the heart has found
Its native piece of ground
The day withholds its light,
The eye must stray unlit.
The ground's the body's bride,
Who will not be denied.
Not until all is given
Comes the thought of heaven.
When the mind's an empty room
The clear days come.

 


 

What We Need Is Here (Wendell Berry)

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

 


 

Being Watchful (Wendell Berry)

As soon as I felt a necessity to learn about the non-human world,
I wished to learn about it in a hurry.
And then I began to learn perhaps
the most important lesson that nature had to reach me:
that I could not learn about her in a hurry.
The most important learning, that of experience,
can be neither summoned nor sought out.
The most worthy knowledge
cannot be acquired by what is known as study —
though that is necessary, and has its use.
It comes in its own good time
and in its own way to the man who will go where it lives,
and wait, and be ready,
and watch.

Hurry is beside the point, useless, an obstruction.
The thing is to be attentively present.
To sit and wait is as important as to move.
Patience is as valuable as industry.
What is to be known is always there.

When it reveals itself to you, or when you come upon it,
it is by chance.

The only condition is your being there and being
watchful.

 


 

Love after Love (Derek Walcott)

The time will come
When with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

 


 

You Reading This, Be Ready (William Stafford)

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life--
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

 


 

Enough (David Whyte)

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

 


 

Well of Grief (David Whyte)

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source
from which we drink
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for
something else

 


 

Sweet Darkness (David Whyte)

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 


 

The Old Interior Angel (David Whyte)

"One day the hero
sits down,
afraid to take
another step,
and the old interior angel
limps slowly in
with her no-nonsense
compassion
and her old secret
and goes ahead.
'Namaste'
you say
and follow."

 


 

Stand Still (David Wagoner)

Stand still.
The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

 


 

(Rumi)

Stay together, Friends.
Don't scatter and sleep.
Our Friendship is made of being awake.
The waterwheel accepts water
and turns and gives it away,
weeping.
That way it stays in the garden,
whereas another roundness rolls
through a dry riverbed looking
for what it thinks it wants.
Stay here, quivering with each moment
like a drop of mercury.

 


 

(Rumi)<\h2>

People are distracted by objects of desire, and afterwards repent of the lust they've indulged, because they have indulged with a phantom and are left even farther from Reality than before. Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality. When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off; you become lame and that fantasy flees. Preserve the wing and don't indulge such lust, so that the wing of desire may bear you to Paradise. People fancy they are enjoying themselves, but they are really tearing out their wings for the sake of an illusion.

 


 

Two Kinds of Intelligence (Rumi)

There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.
With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.
There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.
This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

 


 

(Rumi)

Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.

 


 

(Rumi)

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

 


 

(Rumi)

"Brother stand the pain; Escape the poison of your impulses. The sky
will bow to your beauty, if you do. Learn to light the candle. Rise
with the sun. Turn away from the cave of your sleeping. That way a
thorn expands to a rose. A particular glows with the universal."

 


 

(Rumi)

Be empty of worrying
Think of who created thought
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open
Move outside the tangle of fear thinking
Live in silence
Flow down and down
Into always widening
Rings of being

 


 

(Rumi)

The agony of lovers
burns with the fire of passion.
Lovers leave traces of where they've been.
The wailing of broken hearts
is the doorway to God.

 


 

(Rumi)

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull
of what you truly love"

 


 

(Rumi)

Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you'd be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.

 


 

(Rumi)

Today like every other day
We wake up empty and scared.
Don't open the door of your study
And begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do
There are hundreds of way to kneel
And kiss the earth.

 


 

(Rumi)

Everyone is overridden by thoughts;
that's why they have so much heartache and sorrow.
At times I give myself up to thought purposefully;
but when I choose,
I spring up from those under its sway.
I am like a high-flying bird,
and thought is a gnat:
how should a gnat overpower me?

 


 

(Rumi)

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

 


 

(Rumi)

"The water seeks the thirsty as earnestly as the thirsty seeks the water."

 


 

(Rumi)

Sometimes I forget completely what companionship is. Unconscious and insane, I spill sad energy everywhere. My story gets told in various ways: a romance, a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy. Divide up my forgetfulness to any number, it will go around. These dark suggestions that I follow, are they part of some plan? Friends, be careful. Don't come near me out of curiosity, or sympathy.

 


 

The Guest House (Rumi)

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.

still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 


 

(Rumi)

When I'm with you
we stay up all night
When you're not here
I can't get to sleep
Thank god for these two insomnias
and the difference between them.

 


 

(Rumi)<\h2>

Trust your wound to a teacher's surgery.
Flies collect on a wound. They cover it,
those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is yours.
Let a teacher wave away the flies
and put a plaster on the wound.
Don't turn your head. Keep looking
at the bandaged wound. That's where
the light enters you.
And don't believe for a moment
that you're healing yourself.

 


 

(Rumi)

Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.

 


 

(Rumi)

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.
The door there
is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they're given wings.

 


 

(Rumi)

There is some kiss we want
With our whole life,
The spirit touching the body.

Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door and
open the love window.
The moon
won't use the door, only the window

 


 

(Kabir)

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly --
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

 


 

(Kabir)

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no towrope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
There you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
And stand firm in that which you are.

 


 

(Kabir)

A PLACE TO SIT
Don't go outside your house to see flowers.
My friend, don't bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the void and out of it,
before the gardens and after gardens.

 


 

(Kabir)

I went searching for the shop
Where the merchant would say
"There's nothing of value here".
I found it and stayed.
These poems arise out of
The richness of not wanting.

 


 

(Kabir)

Oh mind you carry on your back
Your actions like a heavy sack.
No wonder that your shoulders ache
Another strain's enough to break
Your neck
So drop this stupid load.
This is the last stop on the road where you can find rest
Stay, be Loves guest.

 


 

(Kabir)

There is nothing but water in the holy pools.
I know, I have been swimming in them.
All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can't say a word.
I know, I have been crying out to them.
The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words.
I looked through their covers one day sideways.
What Kabir talks about is only what he has lived through.
If you have not lived through something, it is not true.

 


 

(Kabir)

Why should we two ever want to part?
Just as the leaf of the water rhubarb lives floating on the water,
we live as the great one and little one.
As the owl opens his eyes all night to the moon,
we live as the great one and little one.
This love between us goes back to the first humans;
it cannot be annihilated.
Here is Kabir's idea: as the river gives itself into the ocean,
what is inside me moves inside you.

 


 

(Kabir)

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think ... and think ... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.

If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten --
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

 


 

(Kabir)

. . . You know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.
The blue sky opens farther and farther,
The daily sense of failure goes away,
The damage I have done to myself fades,
A million suns come forward with light,
When I sit firmly in that world.

 


 

(Hafiz)

Even after all these years
the sun doesn't say
"You owe me".
Look what happens!
The whole world lights up.

 


 

(Kabir)

The darkness of night is coming along fast,
and the shadows of love close in the body and the mind.
Open the window to the west, and disappear into the air inside you.

Near your breastbone there is an open flower.
Drink the honey that is all around that flower.
Waves are coming in:
there is so much magnificence near the ocean!
Listen: Sound of big seashells! Sounds of bells!

Kabir says: Friend, listen, this is what I have to say:
the Guest I love is inside me!

 


 

The Gift (Hafiz)

We Have not Come to Take Prisoners
We have not come here to take prisoners
But to surrender ever more deeply
to freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
to hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run, my dear,
from anything that may not strengthen
your precious budding wings,

Run like hell, my dear,
from anyone likely to put a sharp knife
into the sacred, tender vision
of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
those aspects of obedience
that stand outside of our house
and shout to our reason
"o please, o please
come out and play."

For we have not come here to take prisoners,
or to confine our wondrous spirits,
But to experience ever and ever more deeply
our divine courage, freedom,
and Light!

 


 

It Felt Love (Hafiz)

How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too frightened

 


 

(Hafiz)

What do Sad people have in
Common?
It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and
Worship.
What is the beginning of
Happiness?
It is to stop being
so religious
Like that.

 


 

(Hafiz)

With That Moon Language
Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

 


 

(Hafiz)

It happens all the time in heaven, and some day it will begin to happen again on earth.
That men and women who give each other light, often will get down on their knees, and with tears in their eyes, will sincerely speak, saying,
"My dear, how can I be more loving to you; how can I be more kind?"

 


 

(Hafiz)

Now is the time
Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God?
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child's training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
with veracity and love.
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
That this is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.
Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is Sacred

 


 

(Ghalib)

For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river-
Unbearable pain becomes its own cure,
Travel far enough into sorrow, tears turn into sighing;
In this way we learn how water can die into air,
When, after heavy rain, the storm clouds disperse,
is it not that they've wept themselves clear to the end?
If you want to know the miracle, how wind can polish a mirror,
Look: the shining glass grows green in Spring.
It's the rose's unfolding, Ghalib, that creates the desire to see-
In every color and circumstance, may the eyes be open for what comes.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning
of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses, who are only
waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in
its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
So you must not be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before
you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. . . .

 


 

Saint Francis And The Sow (Galway Kinnell)

The bud stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
Blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
Will be, when all the stars are dead.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.
I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

At night make me one with darkness.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.
Life and death: they are one, at core entwined.
Who understands himself from his own strain
presses himself into a drop of wine
and throws himself into the purest flame.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me: I stand before it like a tree:
I am only one of my many mouths
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because deaths note wants to climb over-
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
They stay here trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
Blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

 


 

The Swan (Rainer Maria Rilke)

This laboring through what is still undone,
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.

And dying-to let go, no longer feel
the solid ground we stand on every day-
is like anxious letting himself fall

into the waters, which receives him gently
and which, as though with reverence and joy,
draw back past him in streams on either side;
while, infinitely silent and aware,
in his full majesty and ever more
indifferent, he condescends to glide.
Ranier Marie Rilke, Translated by Stephen Mitchell
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that's wide and timeless.

 


 

The Coming of Wisdom with Time (WB Yeats)

THOUGH leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

 


 

(Emily Dickinson)

There is a pain —so utter —
It swallows substance up —
Then covers the Abyss with Trance —
So memory can step
Around —across —upon it —
As one with a Swoon —
Goes safely —where an open eye —
Would drop Him —Bone by Bone.

 


 

(Emily Dickinson)

"Hope" is the thing with feathers -
that perches in the soul -
and sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

 


 

(Emily Dickinson)

I 'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there 's a pair of us-don't tell!
They 'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

 


 

Oceans (Juan Ramon Jimenez)

I have a feeling that my boat
Has struck, down there in the depths,
Against a great thing.
And nothing happens!
Nothing…Silence…Waves…
--Nothing happens?
Or has everything Happened,
And are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

 


 

I Am Not I (Juan Ramon Jimenez)

I am not I.
I am this one
Walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.

 


 

(Franz Kafka)

"You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world,
that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature,
but perhaps this very holding back
is the one suffering you could avoid".

 


 

(Franz Kafka)

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice,
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

 


 

(Rabindranath Tagore)

The song I have come to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my life
stringing and unstringing
my instrument.

 


 

(Rabindranath Tagore)

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked
in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life
and my joy is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

 


 

(Albert Einstein)

A human being is part of the whole, called by 'Universe'; a part
limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts
and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of
optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind
of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to
affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to
free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of
compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of
nature in its beauty.

 


 

(Kahlil Gibran)

You shall be free indeed
not when your days are
without a care nor your nights
without a want and a grief,
but rather when these things
girdle your life and
yet you rise above them
naked and unbound.

 


 

(Leonard Cohen)

Ring the bells that can still ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

 


 

(Thomas Merton)

What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone,
in the forest, at night, cherished by this
wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech,
the most comforting speech in the world,
the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges,
and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it.
It will talk as long as it wants, this rain.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.

 


 

(Buddha)

To the mind that is still
the whole universe surrenders.

 


 

(Saint Isaac of Nineveh)

Be at peace with your own soul,
Then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.
Enter eagerly into the treasure
house that is within you,
And you will see the things that are in heaven;
For there is but one single entry to them both.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom in hidden within your soul...
Dive into yourself and
in your soul you will discover
The stairs by which to ascend.

 


 

(Buddha)

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And Trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
"Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.
"Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

 


 

(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come
back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is
seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know
what to do and what not to do to help.

 


 

(Wu-men)

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

 


 

(T.S. Eliot)

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope for hope
would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

 


 

(T.S. Eliot)

The journey is the accumulation of stillness. Patience. Emptiness. The union that I seek is not of my creation. The self I have created impedes union. Stillness must be learned, and the endless time in which I learn it is filled with doubts and desolations. Stillness often feels like abandonment. Why isn't Spirit communicating with me? What have I done to deserve such a stony, cold silence? How do I avoid filling with new terrors the emptiness that terrifies me?

 


 

(T.S. Eliot)

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

 


 

(Anne Cushmam)

"When we open to the terrifying truth that we can't control life, we open to life's incredible, fragile beauty.

 


 

Unconditional (Jennifer Paine Welwood)

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight -
To honor its form, true devotion.

 


 

(Li Po)

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

 


 

(Plotinus)

"Let the Soul banish all that disturbs;
Let the Body that envelopes it be still,
And all the frettings of the Body,
And all that surrounds it.
Let Earth and Sea and Air be still
And Heaven itself.
And then let the Body think
Of the Spirit as streaming, pouring,
Rushing and shining into it from
All sides while it stands quiet."

 


 

(Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself.
You may not be perfect, but you are all you've got to work with.
The process of becoming who you will be begins first with the
total acceptance of who you are.

 


 

Kindness (Naomi Shihab Nye)

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth
what you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
you must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

 


 

(Chief Seattle)

All things are connected like the blood that unites us,
We did not weave the web of life. We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

 


 

Karaniya Metta Sutta (Buddha)

This is what should be done
By those who are skilled in goodness,
And who know 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.
Wishing: in gladness and safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born –
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world;
Spreading upward to the skies,
And downward to the depths;
Outward and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

 


 

Egocentricity (Cheri Huber)

Egocentricity is the process of wanting something other than what is. Egocentricity means there is an "I" who is separate from everything else and doesn't like it; one thing is happening, but I want a different thing to be happening. Egocentricity is that constant concern with how I feel, what I think, what I'm doing, what I want - looking at what is and seeing it as inadequate. My identity is maintained by the struggle of wanting something other than what is; that is how I continue to know myself.

This practice involves finding a willingness to suffer in order to end our suffering. Instead of spending our time trying to avoid suffering, we just find the willingness to go directly into it. Whenever anything causes us to suffer, we can know two things: suffering is the same as egocentricity, and when it arises, that is our best opportunity to end suffering. As we open to our suffering, as we embrace it, as we accept it, our relationship to it changes. It is no longer something horrible, something to escape from. Suffering becomes just another opportunity, another chance for freedom.
Please find out about that for yourself.

 


 

(Kahlil Gibran)

They say if one understands himself, he understands all people. But I say to you, when one loves people, he learns something about himself.

 


 

(Martha Graham)

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"

 


 

(Martha Graham)

"All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused."

 


 

(Saint Isaac of Nineveh)

Be at peace with your own soul,
Then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.
Enter eagerly into the treasure
house that is within you,
And you will see the things that are in heaven;
For there is but one single entry to them both.
The ladder that leads to the Kingdom in hidden within your soul...
Dive into yourself and
in your soul you will discover
The stairs by which to ascend.

 


 

(Victor Frankl)

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom

Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old. I cannot escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. I cannot escape having ill health.
I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature of change. I cannot escape being separated from them.
My deeds are my closest companions. I am the beneficiary of my deeds. My deeds are the ground on which I stand.

 


 

(Pema Chodron)

Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors, people who have a certain hunger to know what is true, feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we are holding back.
They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we'd rather collapse and back away. They're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment s the perfect teacher, and lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy.
We are use to all kinds of escaping - all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can't stand it.
There are so many ways that have been dreamed up to entertain us away from the moment.

 


 

The Pith Instruction (Pema Chodron)

The pith instruction is, Stay...stay...just stay.
Learning to stay with ourselves in meditation is like training a dog.
If we train a dog by beating it, we'll end up with an obedient but very inflexible and rather terrified dog. The dog may obey when we say "Stay!" "Come!" "Roll over!" and "Sit up!" but he will also be neurotic and confused.
By contrast, training with kindness results in someone who is flexible and confident, who doesn't become upset when situations are unpredictable and insecure.
So whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to "stay" and settle down.
Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay!
Discursive mind? Stay!
Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay!
Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay!
What's for lunch? Stay!
What am I doing here? Stay!
I can't stand this another minute! Stay!
That is how to cultivate steadfastness.

 


 

The Bloom of the Present Moment (Thoreau)

There was a time when I could not sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hand. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning having taken my accustomed bath. I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flirted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.
I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works.
For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished. Instead of singing, like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. As the sparrow had it's trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so I had my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear our of my nest.

 


 

(Margaret Wheately)

I know that we notice what we notice because of who we are.
We create ourselves by what we chose to notice.
Once this work of self-authorship has begun,
we inhabit the world we have created. We self-seal.
We don't notice anything except those things that confirm what we already think about who we already are. When we succeed in moving outside of our normal processes of self-reference and can look upon ourselves with self-awareness, then we have a chance at changing.
We break the seal. We notice something new.

 


 

(Ajahn Sumedho)

What does it mean to be mindful? It means to be fully aware right here, concentrating on what is going on inside. . . . Mindfulness is not necessarily concentrating on an object. Being aware of confusion is also being mindful. If we have all kind of things coming at our senses--noises, people demanding this and that--we cannot concentrate on any one of them for very long. But we can be aware of the confusion, or the excitement, or the impingement; we can be aware of the reactions in our own minds. That is what we call being mindful.

 


 

(Albert Einstein)

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men [and women], both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.

 


 

(Howard Thurman)

I abandon all that I think I am,
All that I hope to be,
All that I believe I possess.
I let go of the past.
I withdrawal my grasping hand from the future.
And in the great silence of the moment,
I alertly rest my soul.

 


 

(Walt Whitman)

WHEN I heard the learn'd astronomer; When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 5 Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

 


 

One Soul (Dana Faulds)

Release the harsh and pointed inner
voice. it's just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift
out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

i can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What's needed here isn't more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy - seeing clearly, and
embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.

 


 

Breath of Life (Dana Faulds)

I breathe in All That Is-
Awareness expanding
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.

From the unnamed vastness beneath the
mind, I breathe my way to wholeness and healing.

Inhalation. Exhalation.

Each Breath a "yes,"
and a letting go, a journey, and a coming home.

 


 

Awakening Now (Dana Faulds)

Why wait for your awakening?
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself,
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true nature.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don't continue to believe
in your stories of deficiency and failure.
This is the day of your awakening.

 


 

Walk Slowly (Dana Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn't a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I'm going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.

 


 

Allow (Dana Faulds)

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

 


 

(Mary Oliver)

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly then get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

 


 

(Howard Thurman)

Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

 


 

(Bob Sharples)

Don't meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself.
In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough.
It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people's lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

For one human being to love another:
that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks;
the ultimate, the last test and proof,
the work for which all other work is but preparation.

 


 

(Eckhart Tolle)

Your acceptance of what IS takes you to a deeper level where your inner state as well as your sense of self no longer depend on the mind's judgments of "good" or "bad."

When you say "yes" to the "isness" of life, when you accept this moment as it is, you can feel a sense of spaciousness within you that is deeply peaceful;

On the surface, you may still be happy when it's sunny and not so happy when it's rainy; you may be happy at winning a million dollars and unhappy at losing all your possessions. Neither happiness nor unhappiness, however, go all that deep anymore. They are ripples on the surface of your Being. The background peace within you remains undisturbed regardless of the nature of the outside condition.

The "yes" to what IS reveals a dimension of depth within you that in dependent neither on external conditions nor on the internal conditions of constantly fluctuating thoughts and emotions."

 


 

Connections (Nancy Wood)

Every time we take a breath, we become the universe. The very moment of creation is contained in us and passes on to rocks and trees, animals and fish. The old ones say the essence of life is in water and wind, earth and breath, fire and bone, but most of all in breath, our first connection to the elk, the hawk, the bear, and the buffalo.
Without breath, no connection. Without connection, no creation.
Without creation, no breath.
This is the sacred circle of life, unbroken.

 


 

Otherwise (Jane Kenyon)

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

 


 

(Francois Fenelon)

As light increases,
We see ourselves,
to be worse than we thought.
We are amazed
at our former blindness,
As we see issuing forth,
from the depths of our heart,
a whole swarm
of shameful feelings,
Like filthy reptiles
crawling from a hidden cave.
We never would have believed,
that we had harboured such things,
And we stand aghast,
as we watch them gradually appear.
But we must neither be
amazed or disheartened.
We are not worse,
than we were;
On the contrary,
We are better.
But while our faults diminish,
The light by which we see them
Waxes brighter,
And we are filled with horror.
Bear in mind,
For your comfort,
That we only perceive our malady
When the cure begins.

 


 

(Haim Ginott)

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.

 


 

(Anthony de Mello)

Don't change. Change is impossible, and even if it were possible, it is undesirable.
Stay as you are. Love yourself as you are. And change, if it is at all possible, will
take place by itself if and when it wants. Leave yourselves alone. The only
growth-promoting change is that which comes from self-acceptance.

 


 

(Miriam Pederson)

What Is Our Deepest Desire?
To be held this way in our mother's arms,
to be nestled deep in the warmth
of her body, her gaze,
to be adored, to overwhelm her
with our sweetness.
This is what we seek in chocolate,
in the food and drink and drugs
that stun the senses, that fill the veins
with the rich cream of well being.
What we take for lust —can it be, perhaps,
a heavy pang of longing to be swaddled,
close, close to the heartbeat of our mother?
No bucket seats, Jaccuzi, or even a lover's embrace
can duplicate this luxuriance,
this centered place on the roiling planet.

When the old woman, small and light,
can be carried in the arms of her son,
he, at first, holds her tentatively,
a foreign doll,
but gradually, as the pool loses its ripples,
he sees his face in hers
and draws her to him,
rocking to the rhythm of her breathing.
This is the way to enter and leave the world.

 


 

(Ajaan Cha)

Try to be mindful, and let things take their course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a still forest pool. All kinds of wonderful animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha.

 


 

Deep peace of the running waves to you,

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Moon and stars shine their healing light on you
Deep peace, to you.

 


 

(Rumi)

The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.
We must get up and take that in,
that wind that lets us live.
Breathe, before it's gone.

 


 

(Rumi)

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

 


 

(Rumi)

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language. Even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

 


 

(Rumi)

Seawater begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door and
open the love window.
The moon
won't use the door, only the window.

 


 

(Carl Jung)

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

 


 

(Kahill Gibran)

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its rest-
less tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink form the river of silence
shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs,
then shall you truly dance.

 


 

(T.S. Eliot)

And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfillment.

 


 

(Mary Oliver)

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

 


 

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

If the angel deigns to come
it will be because you have convinced
her, not by tears but by your humble
resolve to be always beginning;
to be a beginner.

 


 

UTE Prayer

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as the old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who succors her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me generation
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

 


 

(William Wordsworth)

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

 


 

Wage Peace (Judyth Hill)

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief
as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.

 


 

Extravagaria (Pablo Neruda)

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language,
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness…

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

 


 

Please Call Me by My True Name (Thich Nhat Hahn)

Do not say that I will depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch
to be a tiny bird, with wings still so fragile
learning to sing in my new nest
to be a caterpillar in the heart of flower
to be a jewel hiding itself in stone

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of the pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence, feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the 12 year old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labour camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills up the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

 


 

(D.H. Lawrence)

There is nothing to save, now all is lost,
but a tiny core of stillness in the heart
like the eye of a violet.

 


 

Acceptance (Donna Sherman)

In the tug and pull of desire's grip I unravel
Tattered shreds of a once regal robe fall away
Nothing comes....nothing

I ride out the battle with time and breath
time and breath
time and breath

Acceptance breezes in (crafty sage that she is)
Wraps this heart in sumptuous golden silk
Warms this heart to a trusting stillness, then

Leaves a knowing kiss upon this slowly smoothing brow.

 


 

Emptiness (Donna Sherman)

where all is possible
silence
where all sound is born
stillness
the birth of all movement

Empty us out of ourselves

Darkness
the keeper of light
mystery
the place of unfoldment
surrender
embracing bold faith

Empty us out of ourselves

Fear
believing we are lost
fear
believing we are separate
fear
forgetting that story is born of mystery

Empty us out of ourselves

Love
returning me to my heart
love
returning you to yours
love
all that is left to hold

Hearing the silence
still in the arms of expansive breath
here among the shards of earth
may all the tears

Empty us out of ourselves.


Copyright © 2005–2016 — All Rights Reserved