“As with events, so is it with thoughts. When I watch that flowing river, which, out of regions I see not, pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am a pensioner; not a cause, but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water; that I desire and look up, and put myself in the attitude of reception, but from some alien energy the visions come.
Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus. From the mountain you see the mountain. We animate what we can, and we see only what we animate. Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them. It depends on the mood of the man, whether he shall see the sunset or the fine poem. There are always sunsets, and there is always genius; but only a few hours so serene that we can relish nature or criticism.
It is very unhappy, but too late to be helped, the discovery we have made, that we exist. That discovery is called the Fall of Man. Ever afterwards, we suspect our instruments. We have learned that we do not see directly, but mediately, and that we have no means of correcting these colored and distorting lenses which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. Perhaps these subject-lenses have a creative power; perhaps there are no objects. Once we lived in what we saw; now, the rapaciousness of this new power, which threatens to absorb all things, engages us. Nature, art, persons, letters, religions, — objects, successively tumble in, and God is but one of its ideas. Nature and literature are subjective phenomena; every evil and every good thing is a shadow which we cast.
Thus inevitably does the universe wear our color, and every object fall successively into the subject itself. The subject exists, the subject enlarges; all things sooner or later fall into place. As I am, so I see; use what language we will, we can never say anything but what we are.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.”
– David Whyte
Fire in the Earth
This morning, the Morning Trip is a little bit different, in that I am sharing more than expressive triggers. This morning I am on my way out to pray and walk at the Tree Place earlier than usual. I will be shortly working with 30 teenage young ladies who are coming from a safe haven residence and treatment center. I ask for grace, not to assume. I ask for a quiet and grounded mind and center, that I speak the words that are granted to me, in order to ease suffering and to bring joy. (and to avoid irritating those who do not wish to be with us, but have no choice)
I will share with you, some of what I will share with them.
“a piece of the River
there’s a river
that invents us together
a river you write
out of the matter
you become when you read it
a river translating
what my senses perceive
where our eyes commune
with the bread of each letter
there’s a river
a river passing through my head”
– Manuel Ulacia
“I’ve said before that every craftsman
searches for what’s not there
to practice his craft.
A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.
Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don’t think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!
Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting you net
into it, and waiting so patiently?
This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it “death”,
that which provides you sustenance and work.
God has allowed some magical reversal to occur,
so that you see the scorpion pit
as an object of desire,
and all the beautiful expanse around it,
as dangerous and swarming with snakes.
This is how strange your fear of death
and emptiness is, and how perverse
the attachment to what you want.
Now that you’ve heard me
on your misapprehensions, dear friend,
listen to Attar’s story on the same subject.
He strung the pearls of this
about King Mahmud, how among the spoils
of his Indian campaign there was a Hindu boy,
whom he adopted as a son. He educated
and provided royally for the boy
and later made him vice-regent, seated
on a gold throne beside himself.
One day he found the young man weeping..
“Why are you crying? You’re the companion
of an emperor! The entire nation is ranged out
before you like stars that you can command!”
The young man replied, “I am remembering
my mother and father, and how they
scared me as a child with threats of you!
‘Uh-oh, he’s headed for King Mahmud’s court!
Nothing could be more hellish!’ Where are they now
when they should see me sitting here?”
This incident is about your fear of changing.
You are the Hindu boy. Mahmud, which means
Praise to the End, is the spirit’s
poverty or emptiness.
The mother and father are your attachment
to beliefs and blood ties
and desires and comforting habits.
Don’t listen to them!
They seem to protect
but they imprison.
They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
of living in emptiness.
Some day you’ll weep tears of delight in that court,
remembering your mistaken parents!
Know that your body nurtures the spirit,
helps it grow, and gives it wrong advise.
The body becomes, eventually, like a vest
of chain mail in peaceful years,
too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
But the body’s desires, in another way, are like
an unpredictable associate, whom you must be
patient with. And that companion is helpful,
because patience expands your capacity
to love and feel peace.
The patience of a rose close to a thorn
keeps it fragrant. It’s patience that gives milk
to the male camel still nursing in its third year,
and patience is what the prophets show to us.
The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt
is the patience it contains.
Friendship and loyalty have patience
as the strength of their connection.
Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates
that you haven’t been patient.
Be with those who mix with God
as honey blends with milk, and say,
“Anything that comes and goes,
rises and sets, is not
what I love.” else you’ll be like a caravan fire left
to flare itself out alone beside the road.”
Rumi VI (1369-1420) from ‘Rumi : One-Handed Basket Weaving
“One of the most difficult things to learn is that mindfulness is not dependent on any emotional or mental state. We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the skill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don’t need to move at a snail’s pace to be mindful. You don’t even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury.”
Mindfulness Versus Concentration
– Henepola Gunaratana
Mindfulness in Plain English
Mindfulness in Plain English
“So don’t ask yourself what people want. Ask instead, What is true? What really inspires me, excites me? What will really help people and take away their confusion and suffering? It’s sort of a funny, crazy way to go, but I think it’s the only way to bring water to the wasteland Joseph Campbell described. When I read something truthful, something real, I breathe a deep sigh and say, “Fantastic – I wasn’t mad or alone in thinking that, after all!” So often we are left to our own devices, struggling in the dark with this external and internal propaganda system. At that point, for someone to tell us the truth is a gift. In a world where people all around us are lying and confusing us, to be honest is a great kindness.”
– David Edwards
Nothing to Lose but our Illusion
Pondering, thinking, creating, imagination…(all right, delusion also fits in somewhere)
Which is which? Are you sure? OOOOooooo ooooooo!! I know! ASK SOMEONE, RIGHT??
NO!!! Definately not!!
What sort of mixed messages are humans moving about like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to please? AND, why oh WHYyyyyyyy do they think this groupie glue is important? Who cares what people want, unless one is trying to sell something? In trying to sell a thing, asking what will ‘help’ and ‘take away’, only grabs onto their desires and pleases them, like candy for a baby. The baby doesn’t need to have the skills to think or to ponder, only to express gimme-gotcha and throw a little tantrum, et voila!!!
Since when did truth mean identification? A wife-beater can identify with the rage expressed in an abuser sharing and thus validate and justify that it is ok to beat…not because it is a true, but because the wife-beater simply doesn’t know any better, OR even worse, is mentally ill and will glom on to the closest rationalization of inappropriate behavior because denial is a happy friend.
Being kind, isn’t always honest. Feeling ‘nice’ and escaping reality and labeling it truth in order to placate a human’s insides, when simply directing them to take care of their own side of the street, is a disservice to the human race. People still lock people up for avoiding reality…and yet the current self-help, gimme-gotcha trend does just that, avoids reality!
(sits waiting for the, “But ELISAAAAAAA!!! You mean imagination is BAD?!? You blah, negative, unlearned person you–the books told you to label me this, as a defense to your ability of hearing your inner spirit agreeing with me!)
Noooooooooooo!! A healthy imagination is simply an amaaaaaaaaaaazing human gift. When utilized and then expressed, explosions of creativity grow joyfully!! A healthy imagination is the inner flame dancing inside of each moment. It is healthy thinking and processing of reactions, the inner decider of actions. The place to sit right at work(as opposed to escaping) stick your pen into someone’s thigh, catch it with mind, laugh and provide the ‘offender’ with a hug oh gram, a balloon bouquet, and birds flying in joyful expression to assist them with whatever pen-stabbing they were contemplating before you encountered them!
When you are tired at work, think exhilaration!!! Think of scaling Mt. Everest, in brilliant swim trunks, feel the sharp intake of cool air into your lungs, take that feeling and register the brilliant sky and the sun hitting the mind across the peak…raise your hands in triumph–at the same time plant those feet apart on the floor and streeeeeeeetch those arms above your head and wooooohoooooooooo recharged!
You could also recall the York Peppermint Patty commercials, if that helps. Engagement, instead of withdrawal!
Dunno about you, but conversion is MY FRIEND!!
(someone said somewhere that emoticons ought not be used…should i worry? lol)
I am adding in the beginning since I have come to an end, and realized that what began as a ponder and became the Morning Trip(14) which did not look nor feel like the average Morning Trip and then slid over more into the Inside Upside Down and Backward Blog (5). I could not slight one or the other. So, laughing at myself for feeling ‘wrong’, especially after readers will see the ‘wrong’ topic below, I posted it as both, let the reader simply read and filter and decide–or perhaps not care so very much about headings. Enjoy! I am going to get a cup of tea.
“The bright side of wrong
Our tendency to err is also what makes us smart. Here’s what we’d gain from embracing it
By Kathryn Schulz
June 13, 2010
There are certain things in life that pretty much everyone can be counted on to despise. Bedbugs, say. Back pain. The RMV. Then there’s an experience we find so embarrassing, agonizing, and infuriating that it puts all of those to shame. This is, of course, the experience of being wrong.
Is there anything at once so routine and so loathed as the revelation that we were mistaken? Like the exam that’s returned to us covered in red ink, being wrong makes us cringe and slouch down in our seats. It makes our hearts sink and our dander rise.
Sometimes we hate being wrong because of the consequences. Mistakes can cost us time and money, expose us to danger or inflict harm on others, and erode the trust extended to us by our community. Yet even when we are wrong about completely trivial matters — when we mispronounce a word, mistake our neighbor Emily for our co-worker Anne, make the dinner reservation for Tuesday instead of Thursday — we often respond with embarrassment, irritation, defensiveness, denial, and blame. Deep down, it is wrongness itself that we hate….” Read the remainder of the article…