move in the way of light

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We are an extraverted society. We interpret our lives by external causes and influences and give almost no heed to our interior. And so, in compensation, we fall deep into ourselves, sensing and feeling our souls, by means of depression. Depression is a symptomatic way of remaining in touch with our souls. If you are engaged in real soul work, becoming a deeper person, being more of an individual and thoughtful about ordinary life, then your spiritual efforts will have a strong, fertile base, soul and spirit often interact and overlap, your maturing soul supporting your evolving spirit. Your glowing ideas about a spiritual existence need the bitter, salty, and chaotic feelings….Thomas Moore

so many ethereal notions about the spiritual life are ungrounded and set us up to fail……the grit and the spacious present hold us if we will only allow our truth to be….

Reality overwhelms one waling home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech- and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates. So that when I ask you to earn money and have a room of your own, I am asking you to live in the presence of reality, an invigorating life, it would appear, whether one can impart it or not…..Virginia Woolf

high in the bright blue

Thoreau got up each morning and walked to the woods as though he had never been where he was going to, so that whatever was there came to him like liquid into an empty glass…….John Cage

 

run hard, but run light

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Seasons is a wise metaphor for the movement of life, I think. It suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all- and to find in all of it opportunities for growth. Transformation is difficult, so it is good to know that there is comfort as well as challenge in the metaphor of life as a cycle of seasons. Illumined by that image, we see that we are not alone in the universe. We are participants in a vast communion of being, and if we open ourselves to its guidance, we can learn anew how to live in this great and gracious community of truth. We can, and we must- if we want our sciences to be humane, our institutions to be sustaining, our healings to be deep, our lives to be true…..Parker J. Palmer

can we ask the hard questions?….the ones ripe with deep and pitted truth…..the ones that call from somewhere we have yet to be…..

As slowly as the ripening fruit

Fertile, detached, and always spent,

Falls but does not exhaust the root.

….May Sarton

been gone so long

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.

….William Stafford

the crying & the leaving & the return

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It is the immersion in the daily that paradoxically unfolds the threshold to the Infinite, for it gives us a focal point around which to be fully present. Whether it’s washing the dog or pruning the roses or gluing a broken dish or stripping your great-grandmother’s oak dresser, the attention to what is before you can massage the Unconscious into being known. As sticks were rubbed prehistorically to start fires, the rubbing of our humanity against the daily sparks the spiritual. It is this rubbing that binds us and yet it is how we know we are here. This is easier to see if we return to our water-flower analogy. For even though the motion of the water does not submerge the lotus, the rise and fall of each wave tugs at its stem. In the same way, a human being may stay centered and yet the swell of experience will tug at the stem of his or her heart. This kind of tension is the unavoidable ache of being alive, the inevitable pull between spirit and bone. For the swell of life tugging at our stem is continual evidence of our interconnectedness with all things………Mark Nepo

this deep guttural instinct to pay attention can creep up and bring us to our knees….how much have we missed? simply sit and be in this journey of a million tears……..

Before we can surrender ourselves

we must become ourselves.

For no one can give up

what he does not possess.

….Thomas Merton

we miss this delicate hope

There is a quality of stillness so rare that the air shimmers in its presence. It’s there between our eyes. We hear it when we dare to speak the truth. It vibrates with the music of life, dances in the wind, breaks forth from the trees into a clearing just as the sun rises, and settles into silence once again. There is a quality of stillness so rare that I am bared to the very marrow of my bones before it. May I choose never to be clothed again……Danna Faulds

the essential element

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We are challenged every day to say yes to the movements of life, to see it all through, without pause, staying in relationship to the music of life and each other, adjusting as we go, not knowing what will happen next. Yet even out of tune, this messy and magnificent practice, so essentially human, will let us hear—briefly—the music of the Universe being the Universe. To hear this larger music while grinding out the small music of our lives is what sages of all traditions have called glimpsing eternity…..Mark Nepo

wishing upon a wave before the star…..the essence, the cold dark deep, the vibrant heart of blissness……

I believe that in the life to come I shall have the senses I have not had here, and that my home there will be beautiful with color, music, speech of flowers and faces I love.

Without this faith there would be little meaning in my life. I should be “a mere pillar of darkness in the dark.” Observers in the full enjoyment of their bodily senses pity me, but it is because they do not see the golden chamber in my life where I dwell delighted; for, dark as my path may seem to them, I carry a magic light in my heart. Faith, the spiritual strong searchlight, illumines the way, and although sinister doubts lurk in the shadow, I walk unafraid towards the Enchanted Wood where the foliage is always green, where joy abides, where nightingales nest and sing, and where life and death are one in the Presence of the Lord…….Helen Keller

burning low

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter…….Rachel Carson

from the heart of perspective

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Only from the heart can you touch the sky.

…..Rumi

may we float down rainbows, a current as colorful and vibrant as the biggest heart…..as kind as our highest self…..as deep as the well of our love for each other……

We must not give up. It takes so much time to heal because we are not just healing our own wounds – we are healing the world’s wounds, too. We think we are alone with our ‘stuff’, but we aren’t. With every clearing of our emotional debris, with every foray into a healthier way of being, with every excavation and release of old material, we heal the collective heart. So many of our familial and karmic ancestors had little opportunity to heal their pains. When we heal, their spirits breathe a sigh of relief. We heal them backwards, while healing ourselves forward. We heal in unison……Jeff Brown

where did I leave you behind?

The beauty of souls laid bare is that we are then all naked at once, together, our sameness and our differences revealed in the glory of the truth of us….B. Nur Cheyene

is life enough, simply as it is?

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When a person’s awakening vacillates, he or she often asks me, “How do I stay in the awakened state?” That is asking the wrong question. In spirituality, it is important that we ask the right questions. To wonder how to stay in the awakened state is a totally reasonable thing to do, but the question itself is arising from the dream state. Spirit never asks itself, “How do I stay within myself?” That would be ridiculous. It just makes no sense, coming from the true nature of things.

What makes more sense is to ask how you unenlighten yourself. What is still held on to? What is still confusing? What situations in life can get you to believe things that aren’t true and cause you to go into contradiction, suffering, and separation? What is it specifically that has the power to entice consciousness back into the gravitational field of the dream state? We should not ask, “How do I stay awake?” Instead we should ask, “How is it that I’m unenlightening myself? How is it specifically that I’m putting myself back in illusion?…..Adyashanti

it’s like being up in the corner of the room, watching……a sweet vantage point to peer into the heart……looking down deep and wide within an infinite calm……

If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection, you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path. After a while it seems like almost every moment of your life you’re there, where you realize you have a choice. You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out. That choice is presented to you again and again and again…..Pema Chodron

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail
of a bridge and lean over to watch the river
slipping slowly away beneath you, you will
suddenly know everything there is to be known.
……A. A. Milne

the unlearning of spirit

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Astonishing. Getting older and older, I still stand here at this window, watching as if never having watched anything like it before – the wrens, juncos, and purple finches picking the seeds strewn on the pile of frozen snow. Through my breath condensing into fog on the cold window pane, I still see bare branches chasing their shadows in the icy wind, black threads of water crinkling through fissures in the frozen river. I am aware that what I am seeing is no more, no less than the great Mystery, that of being here at all, that of seeing it – as from the other side of a mirror – snow, birds, my breath still condensing, that breath that started so long ago as my first cry………Frederick Franck

do we ever allow the river to freeze within us? to feel the solid ice of holding and the cold that wrenches our heart? sometimes it is best to be in our lives, simply, in the blue-lipped, hard-packed white of a cold long fissure…..

As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being.  If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?…..Alan Watts

contemporary explorations

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ……….Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

to come into one’s own

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Why do we regret? Why do we feel guilt?

One reason: we hold back our love while we are living. We are never truly living with our whole selves. We always think we will have one more day. One more year. One more holiday.

I promise you three steps you can take to open your heart and let the light shine in. Starting today, starting right now. Take it or leave it:

  1. Be open to receiving anything and everything the universe has to offer. This means living from the word yes instead of no.
  2. Check yourself. Are you living the life you want to be remembered by? Do you react to, speak with and love others in the best way you know how? Are you living your truth? The time is now to make some amendments if any of your responses are no.
  3. You don’t have to suppress the past to move into the future – integrate your losses into what you are as a person. Love and embrace all parts of your being – the past and the future, the strength and the fluid parts too.

Okay, I know I told you there would only be 3 tips but here is a 4th, and possibly, the most important tip I have for you:

Do something you love everyday. Even when you don’t have time for it. Because as Howard Thurman said: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I can think of no better way to crack your heart wide and spill your guts all over the universe than by coming alive in doing what you love.

Bonus tip: Love, love, love, love, love. No exceptions……Lauren Hanna

knowledge & truth

If you listen,
not to the pages or preachers
but to the smallest flower
growing from a crack
in your heart,
you will hear a great song
moving across a wide ocean
whose water is the music
connecting all the islands
of the universe together,
and touching all
you will feel it
touching you
around you…
embracing you
with light.

It is in that light
that everything lives
and will always be alive.

………..John Squadra

the translucence between our own truth and the way we offer it to others is not a trite delivery of our values and beliefs…..it is how we show up…..how we dance in the heart fire…..

The journey toward our beauty is a magnificent struggle. Achieving an integrity between what we believe and how we live is a challenge worthy of the gift of life. A thousand obstacles stand between ourselves and the honoring of our truth. A thousand distractions. A thousand ego-generated delusions. To dive down, find the beauty, nurture it, and offer it to the world is magnificent. Staying with your beauty, your truth, your integrity is difficult, but out of these things comes meaning, and meaning is all-transcendent.

………Roderick MacIver

 

 

nurturing soul

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Unconditional love is the beautiful hoped for impossibility, and yet we could not fully understand the nature of our helplessness without looking through the lens of that hoped for perfection. We are creatures who do not get to choose between what we want and what is wanted of us, and we seem to embody the full vulnerabilities of love only when we dwell at the moving frontier between this wanting and being wanted. The invitation is made to us every day whether we desire it or no, to enter a deeply human world of robust vulnerability, shot through with a sometimes joyful, more often difficult helplessness, to risk our selves in the conditional world in which we live and to accept that there is no possible path we can follow where we will be untouched by the heartbreak, the difficulties and the joys that move us, and move through us. The only path possible is to give ourselves unconditionally to the conditionality of each overwhelming, disturbing and rewarding guise of love……David Whyte

soul tending guides the heart to open wide, to trust in wisdom that has no name, to honor the deep fissures of life as they lead up to the light…….big sky always hovers…….

What I knew when I wrote “The Invitation” was that I could trust my deepest longing. I still have faith in the soul-ache that reminds us that nothing less than heart-intimacy with the Presence, the Mystery and Magic of Infinite Love will touch that hunger. Of course that Love can manifest in infinite ways in this shared world. I am grateful for the longing that helps me surrender over & over to the the way this Love takes me home to who and what I am, to what we all are…..Oriah Mountain Dreamer

fly angels fly……

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

through the mirror

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When your mind collapses inward and falls into the void,
and when the void falls into itself,
there is no return.
It is finished.

Why does the world exist?
Because emptiness dances, because it is wild,
because it endlessly gives birth.

When you finally arrive at the true Oneness,

not even the Oneness remains;

neither is it absent.

When emptiness is still, that is eternity.
When it moves, that is love.

……Adyashanti

when we lay down and let it all wash over us, we finally know the heart…know who we are…….may we resist no more…..

There are some unappreciated advantages to aging. The very frailty of age guards its secrets. To many people you become irrelevant, which gives you more time to do inner work. Francis, a resident in a nursing home, wrote to me, “Lack of physical strength keeps me inactive and often silent. They call me senile. Senility is a convenient peg on which to hang nonconformity. A new set of faculties seems to be coming into operation. I seem to be waking to a larger world of wonderment – to catch little glimpses of the immensity and diversity of creation. More than at any other time of my life, I seem to be aware of the beauties of our spinning planet and the sky above. Old age is sharpening my awareness.”

It is interesting to see how aging can work to one’s advantage spiritually. I used to go to Burma to sit in meditation. I’d go into a cell. I’d just sit down – no books, no television, no computers, no one to talk to. I’d just sit and go inward. I’d go into as quiet a place as I could find. Just look at what happens when you get old. You lose your hearing, you lose your sight, you can’t move around so well, you slow down. What an ideal time to meditate. If any message is clear, that’s it. Yet we treat aging as an error or a failing.

That distortion comes from defining ourselves in terms of doing instead of being. But behind all the doings, all the roles, you just are – pure awareness, pure consciousness, pure energy. When you reside fully in the present moment, you are outside of time and space.

Trungpa Rinpoche notes, “Our lives awaken through ordinary magic.” It’s in everyday things that the miraculous happens. If we practice being here now, we develop the sensitivity to perceive and appreciate the daily miracles of our lives…..Ram Dass

There is mercy in a drenching rain

Washing the dust and dog crap away,

Leaving trees and city freshly cleansed.

There is mercy in a raging storm

Ravaging the coast and removing all

The sailors’ wine bottles and Twinkie wrappers.

There is mercy in ripping, rending pain

In the agony of separation and unanswerable questions

Removing all the etiquette, false smiles and

Untried, politic assumptions about reality,

Leaving truth and love and laughter and God in its wake.

…Sylvia Bennett