Good poems bring the grant of malleability. They make the world, and the self, workable, when it might seem to have stiffened past change. They hold the omnipresence of interconnection without dismantling solitude and the inner. They undercut adamance, oversimplification, stubbornness, and our current culture’s dependence on the practical as the only way forward. But without the enlargements and suppling of imagination, practical action would quickly lose not only heart, but reason. Hope matters as much. Tenderness matters as much. When we bring that spirit of openness, permeability, exploration, and courage into our lives and our hands, everything else follows: a deeper saturation and compassion, a recalibrating sense of proportion, an increase of the possible. Good poems make clarity without making simple. They do not erase darkness; if anything, they open into it. But wouldn’t the page of a day be dull and undistinguished almost as if unsigned by existence, without its charcoal?……Jane Hirshfield
invisible layers well up like magic as we sing to the imagination-moon….reaching the depths of sublimity gains sophistication through our own unique distortions…..the stunning flowers and mystical rain heed our call to become so…..and this self-discovery leads us up and away to the unexpected….
Imagination can provide us with rich, lifelike experiences and give us a powerful opportunity to develop empathy and compassion. The transformative power of focused imagination is central to Buddhist practice, but the Buddha himself was not content to rest there. Late in life, he confounded many of his followers with a stronger, stranger, notion. The teacher of my first Buddhist lecture introduced it simply. He held up a book and asked, ‘How many of you think that this exists independently of your mind?’ Like the others, I raised my hand. ‘How do you know it exists?’ he pressed. Answers bounced back. ‘I can see it.’ I can feel it.’ We realized that the only way we knew the book was there was by interpreting what came in through our senses. The teacher pointed out that this is true of everything in our lives. Ultimately, Buddhists argue, there is no such thing as objective reality out there. The point is not a nihilistic one, that nothing exists, but rather that no thing has a detached, fixed identity. Phenomena ‘do not exist in their own right,’ says the Dalai Lama, ‘but only have an existence dependent upon many factors, including a consciousness that conceptualizes them.’ Our whole experience of life is filtered through our minds, and we continually project our own sense of meaning onto people and things. As the Buddha put it, ‘With our thoughts we make the world.’ Our imagination is not an alternative to reality. Our imagination is our reality…..Gabriel Cohen
The mandarin silence of windows before their view,
like guards who nod to every visitor,
the path to the doorway agrees.
A fire requires its own conflagration.
As birth does. As love does.
Saying to time to the end, ‘Dear one, enter.’