the real nature of things

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I must live about all in the present. My first thoughts are azure; there is a bloom and a dew on them; they are papillary-feeders which I put out, tender, innocent.

….Henry David Thoreau

our visions of simplicity and innocence remind us that we can inspire and be inspired by and with the same hand of the pulsating world around us…..we know the transparency of breath and sky…..

One might well object, that Thoreau’s paradisal vision is so fundamentally solitary and personal that it lacks value and meaning for the larger community. Or that its ascetic character is simply too severe. However, I think that it is possible to understand his vision of an innocent and simple life, a life free of anxiety, differently- as leading to a way of living that is open and responsive to the larger whole. Much like the early Christian monks, for whom anachoresis became part of a critical response to an acute social crisis, Thoreau understood his experiment at Walden Pond not simply as a personal gesture but as an effort to think through and work out in practice a different, and more sustainable way for society as whole to live. His profound examination of the sources of care and anxiety that prevent us from seeing and living in the world in innocence and simplicity was at the heart of this project. And like the monks before him, his alternative vision of the self in the world undercut many of the prevailing assumptions of what it meant to live in the world with meaning and purpose. This is a truly contemplative practice that seeks, through a steady relinquishment of attachment to things and of the anxiety that such attachment breeds, to discover what it means to live openly and responsively to the gift of the world…..Douglas E. Christie

an act of faith

I want to see if the light is really burning. I want to see the Lombardy poplars and apple trees and the posts supporting the woven-wire fence around the house where I lived in that boyhood, I want to see if they are glowing in the luminous world. I want things to be radiant and permeable. I want to be welcome inside these memories if nowhere else, and I think I was welcome as a child. I want the child who thought about the world and understood that he was welcome to have been correct. I want to have had that; I want the world to be that good….William Kittredge

nesting in big sky

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The more you know, the more you bend.

….an old Korean saying

do we really know what deep passion for life looks like? and who can sing our light out into the deep sky? and what can we give back?

That the heart can receive and hold anything and that the intensity of feeling so deeply is too much to bear is a paradox we can only live into. Under what is both unbearable and endlessly uplifting is the murmur of life. As a bluebird needs a small, enclosed house propped in the open where it can nest and give birth, the heart is our enclosed house propped in the open, in which the sol nests, as we wait for some small song within us to be born. Our most precious moments of aliveness arise when the heart, propped in the open, is brimming with more than it can contain. Our job is to be a trustworthy birdhouse for the hatching of mystery. This is how life awakens the soul……Mark Nepo

to discover our truth

I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world…..Henry Miller

standing still

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In this choiceless
Never-ending
Flow
Of life,
There is an infinite array
Of choices.
One alone
Brings happiness-
To love
What is

…….Dorothy Hunt

where can we go to be? where can we go to listen? where can we go to know?

Our minds seek comfort. Our hearts seek truth.

What happens when we need to make big, life-impacting decisions? Fear takes over, the voices in our head get loud and bossy and urge us to avoid taking risks. Our ego tries desperately to con us into taking the easy way out.

We, therefore, don’t often make our choices from the heart, we make them from the mind space which governs much of our lives and tends to try to keep us small.

…..Zoe Quiney

The calm within the storm is where peace lives and breathes. It is not within perfect circumstances or a charmed life… it is not conditional. Peace is a sacred space within, it is the temple of our internal landscape. We are free to visit it, whenever we seek sanctuary. Underneath the chaos of everyday living, peace is patiently awaiting our discovery… go within.

……Jaeda DeWalt

to be touched by the whirl of our knowing

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Everybody has a gift. Your job is to find it, love it, nourish it and give it space to grow. It’s not too late for anyone to commit to making space for their own nature to blossom…..Denis Brown

this is the calling that allows us to pause and know that our lives are worthy of care…..our truth speaks to us in the most unusual and intimate ways…….the fear of our possibilities is eased through the tender knowing of all who see us……..

One of the difficulties of knowing what you are and why you are here and then losing and regaining that awareness is the temptation to identify with feelings of shame for failing to hold close to you what you know. But never, in all my experiences of the presence that I am or of that greater mystery in which I participate, have I ever caught even a glimpse of judgment or recrimination. Shame only makes it harder to be with what is. Pulling away from what is, even when what is is being disconnected from the experience of our essence, is continuing the war with reality. We cannot end this war by doing but only by following our longing, letting it lead us back into simply being. I have great faith in our longing as a portal that can take us to what we are if we follow it down into the deepest ache of the soul. But longing- the ache for something more than just continuing- is not the same as craving. Craving is fueled by fear and pushes for speed and doing, whereas longing wants to linger with, go deeper into, and learn from what is in the present moment. Longing will take us to the knowledge of our essence and the meaning enfolded in being what we are……Oriah Mountain Dreamer

the endless well of creative light

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown into flame again by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light….Albert Schweitzer

the fragile discipline of trust

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How to cope with beauty and at the same time with the mathematical cruelty of the universe. To see means not only to have before one’s eyes. It may mean also to preserve in memory. To see and describe may also mean to reconstruct in imagination. A distance achieved thanks to the mystery of time must not change events, landscapes, human figures into a tangle of shadows growing paler and paler. On the contrary, it can show them in full light, so that every event, every date becomes expressive and persists as an eternal reminder of human depravity and human greatness. Those who are alive receive a mandate from those who are silent forever. They can fulfill their duties only by trying to reconstruct precisely things as they were by wrestling the past from fictions and legends……Czeslaw Milosz

the meaning in our lives is refined by our seeing, our gentle trust, and our unearthed beliefs…..may we see the gift of presence in the lines in old, beautiful faces…..

To accept what is bitter. The acceptance must not be reflected back on to the bitterness so as to diminish it, otherwise the acceptance will be proportionately diminished in force and purity, for the thing to be accepted is that which is bitter in so far as it is bitter; it is that and nothing else. We have to say like Ivan Karamozov that nothing can make up for a single tear from a single child, and yet to accept all tears and the nameless horrors which are beyond tears. We have to accept these things, not in so far as they bring compensations with them, but in themselves. We have to accept the fact that they exist simply because they do exist……Simone Weil

what is courage to an open heart?

This moving away from comfort and security,

this stepping out into what is unknown,

uncharted and shaky —

that’s called liberation.

……Pema Chodron

fusing kindness & tears

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Be around people who make you feel like your heart is exploding, you could be levitating, and you forget what time it is. Human connection and feeling supported are integral to feeling like you are not alone, because you aren’t. Often anxiety arises from feeling like we have to take care of things by ourselves, that we must go it alone or that life is every (wo)man for (her/him)self. We are all here to support each other, we’re all struggling, and we all deeply need each other. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good, that you admire, that do things that make you laugh, that make you tea and encourage you to stand on your head……Robin Lee

nothing quite like a friend to hold your shifting process and worries and doubts……from this vulnerable connection, we learn more about truths, more about living our truths, and more about fusing our truths with our lives…..

There’s nothing short of miraculous about our lives. We’re revolutionary by nature.

So, in my dictionary, sensitivity is synonymous with flexibility, adaptability, being affected but unbeaten by change precisely because you’re sensitive, not despite it. And flexibility is basically the art of paying attention.

When you pay attention—when you really pay attention—you bend through life in its wholeness. Everything affects you because everything and everyone is related to you, in some way. You can’t help but hurt for yourself and for others—or be hurt by yourself and others.

And let’s not even get into Love. Or, better yet, let’s call it Beauty. People are just like you. And you’re just like rain. And rain just doesn’t know how to fall upwards. So don’t get mad, bring an umbrella. I have another one with your name on it.

An umbrella is both: the perfect shield and perfect weapon. Much better than a wall. It’s light, it opens and it closes in a second. It kind of reminds me of children. It’s also the most easy-to-forget item in the History of Items, which means you can get rid of it anytime and save yourself some shrink-money.

And who knows, Dear Sufferer, maybe some day we’ll evolve to understand all things, before we get lost in them, and learn to walk on water, before we drown. Or we’ll be one with both our beauty and our suffering, and not stuck in between, like an improvised, heartbroken sandwich.

Maybe after all our amazing discoveries, we’ll have a second chance, in this lifetime, to rediscover ourselves.

But for now, we still need to master the craft of recycling our pain in such a way that we can turn storms into art and tears into soil fertilizer, with our slow & shaking magic wand…..Andrea Balt

shifting into vision

Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.
……..Martha Postlewaite

and we remember from where we came

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If only for a moment we see within,
we have overcome the emptiness of things.
……Seng-Ts’an

contemplating the great mystery draws us into the spacious heart, without words, without knowing, without belief……how can all of this emptying fill us with a full and sacred center?

By contemplating dispassionately the beauty and use of each thing, he who is illumined is filled with love for the Creator. He surveys all visible things in the upper and lower worlds: the sky, the sun, the moon, stars and clouds, water-spouts and rain, snow and hail, how in great heat liquids coagulate, thunder, lightning, the winds and breezes and the way they change, the seasons, the years, the days, the nights, the hours, the minutes, the earth, the sea, the countless flocks, the four-legged animals, the wild beasts and reptiles, all the kinds of birds, the springs and rivers, the many varieties of plant and herb, both wild and cultivated. He sees in all things the order, the equilibrium, the proportion, the beauty, the rhythm, the union, the harmony, the usefulness, the concordance, the variety- contemplating thus all created realities, he is filled with wonder………Peter of Damaskos

the sweet spot reconsidered

You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.

…..Rainer Maria Rilke

our strength found in fragile depths

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I am especially struck with the idea

of the purposeless life,

filling the well with snow.

I suppose all life is just that anyway,

but we are obsessed with purpose.

….Thomas Merton

like the lovely, free-form edge of a bird’s wings, we cultivate our essence, an alchemy of soul…..this, simply by being present and alive…..yes, fully alive……

The longing to live free from care, or to live what Merton in his letter to Suzuki calls the purposeless life, should not be mistaken for a simple disregard for others or for the world, or a willingness to live without care for persons or things. Rather, it expresses a hunger to discover a more honest, free, and open way of living in the world that enables one to see and respond to the other without succumbing to the temptation to think of such relationships only in terms of their utility and purpose. Indeed, one of the fundamental questions raised by the contemplative tradition has to do with how best to understand purpose and utility in human life, and whether the meaning of things depends on their having a purpose or a use. Also, whether an insistence on the fundamental value of utility and purposefulness undermines our very capacity to see and notice and respond to the world in its own terms. At its roots, these are also questions about what kind of value we attribute to things like play, imagination, attention, and prayer; and whether they can be understood,at least in conventional or economic terms, as having any purpose at all. Especially important in this regard is the cultivation of the kind of capacious awareness that can help us learn to feel and take in the beauty and power of the world for its own sake and refrain from evaluating it purely in terms of its utility. And while the cultivation and practice of such awareness may not be sufficient in itself to help us redress the pernicious effects of our utilitarian and acquisitive culture, the recovery of such capacity will almost certainly be necessary to the kind of sustained imaginative, ecological, and spiritual renewal of the world…..Douglas Christie

liquid life in motion

So from the ground we felt that virtue branch

Through all our veins till we were whole, our wrists

As fresh and pure as water from a well,

Our hands made new to handle holy things,

The source of all our seeing rinsed and cleansed

Till earth and light and water entering there

Gave back to us the clear unfallen world.

……Edwin Muir

the circuitous route of The Way

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Being a sensitive person can be a confusing, complicated thing in this still harsh world. It feels intuitively right to open, to feel, to enhearten our daily life, but the world is still vibrating at a more armored and edgy place. It is not yet attuned to the ways of the open heart. So what to do? We don’t want to deaden our capacity to feel, but if we feel too much, we get run over by an often heartless world. I have found my best answer in three places: (1) Selective Attachment; that is- carefully discerning between positive and negative individuals and environments, and only attaching to those people and places that can hold our tender heart safe; (2) Strong energetic boundaries; that is- being physically and emotionally charged, so that we can more effectively repel unwelcome energies; (3) Conscious Armoring; that is- learning how to put on armor when necessary to manage the world and difficult situations, and, consciously removing it when it is no longer needed. If we cultivate these practices, we stand a much better chance of preserving our sensitivity. Once we lose it, we lose our connection to the moment altogether. Here’s to a sensitive way of being! What a courageous path…..Jeff Brown
this is the verdant spaciousness that calls us to green the soul….to find our way in the tall grass of our deepest doubts……to lift that boggy heart into the tender care of other boggy hearts…….
If you touch one thing
with deep awareness,
you touch everything.
…….Thich Nhat Hanh
The presence of the soul lies not in some far-off dimension, but in our everyday expression of qualities of being that empower, align, connet, uplift, and liberate all life. We nourish others every moment when we remember to be fully present and open, appreciating and cherishing their soul beingness. That is what happens in Soul Visioning- we allow our spiritual energy to emerge fully. The soul strives to unfold its fundamental identity, to be true to itself. We measure the success of Soul Visioning by how fully our soul infuses the personality with its energy. The more we experience our soul, the more we participate in its connection with the Divine. We learn how to recognize its energy and channel it into our daily life. Love is actually the source of all our abilities, and the more we express, the greater the abilities that emerge from within us. Our primary purpose for connecting with the soul is to channel that spiritual energy of love to other people…..Susan Wisehart

the lovely shattering of the mind

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One way to get free of attachment is to cultivate the witness consciousness, to become a neutral observer of your own life. The witness place inside you is simple awareness, the part of you that is aware of everything — just noticing, watching, not judging, just being present, being here now.

The witness is actually another level of consciousness. The witness coexists alongside your normal consciousness as another layer of awareness, as the part of you that is awakening. Humans have this unique ability to be in two states of consciousness at once. Witnessing yourself is like directing the beam of a flashlight back at itself. In any experience — sensory, emotional, or conceptual — there’s the experience, the sensory or emotional or thought data, and there’s your awareness of it. That’s the witness, the awareness, and you can cultivate that awareness in the garden of your being.

The witness is your awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Witnessing is like waking up in the morning and then looking in the mirror and noticing yourself — not judging or criticizing, just neutrally observing the quality of being awake. That process of stepping back takes you out of being submerged in your experiences and thoughts and sensory input and into self-awareness.

Along with that self-awareness comes the subtle joy of just being here, alive, enjoying being present in this moment. Eventually, floating in that subjective awareness, the objects of awareness dissolve, and you will come into the spiritual Self, the Atmān, which is pure consciousness, joy, compassion, the One.

The witness is your centering device. It guides the work you do on yourself. Once you understand that there is a place in you that is not attached, you can extricate yourself from attachments. Pretty much everything we notice in the universe is a reflection of our attachments.

Jesus warned us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Desire creates your universe; that’s just the way it works.

So your first job is to work on yourself. The greatest thing you can do for another human being is to get your own house in order and find your true spiritual heart.

….Ram Dass

the ideal of witnessing isn’t dependent on our emotional intelligence….rather, it’s a blessing unhindered by our inner wranglings and judgments…..layered deep, like tiny glass beads…..

I prayed for change, so I changed my mind. I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself. I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego. I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally. I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out. I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health. I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle. I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One. I prayed for love and realized it’s always knocking, but I have to allow it in……Jackson Kiddard

inner skin

You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.
……Rainer Maria Rilke