Monday, December 30, 2013

seeing



Not "Revelation" - 'tis - that waits, 
But our unfurnished eyes -  





Emily Dickinson
Photo:  Peter Bowers









Wednesday, December 25, 2013

being to timelessness as it's to time


being to timelessness as it's to time,
love did no more begin than love will end; 
where nothing is to breathe to stroll to swim
love is the air the ocean and the land

(do lovers suffer?all divinities 
proudly descending put on deathful flesh:
are lovers glad?only their smallest joy's
a universe emerging from a wish)

love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun more last than star

-do lovers love?why then to heaven with hell.
Whatever sages say and fools,all's well





e.e. cummings 
photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, November 26, 2013

River Time


Have you also learned that secret
from the river; that there is
no such thing as time?
That the river is everywhere at the
same time, at the source and at
the mouth, at the waterfall, at the
ferry, at the current, in the ocean
and in the mountains, everywhere
and that the present moment only exists for
it, not the shadow of the past nor
the shadow of the future?





Herman Hesse
Siddhartha 
Photo:  Peter Bowers




Monday, November 25, 2013

Strange


The little river twittering in the twilight, 
The wan, wandering look of the pale sky, 
this is almost bliss.  

And everything shut up and gone to sleep, 
all the troubles and anxieties and pain
gone under the twilight. 

Only the twilight now, and the soft "Sh!" of the 
river.
That will last forever.

And at last I know my love for you is here; 
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight, 
It is large, so large, I could not see it before, 
Because of the little lights and flickers and
interruptions, 
Troubles, anxieties and pains.

You are the call and I am the answer, 
You are the wish,  and I am the fulfillment, 
You are the night, and I am the day.
What else - it is perfect enough.
It is perfectly complete, 
You and I, 
What more-- ?

Strange, how we suffer in spite of this.




D.H. Lawrence
Photo:  Peter Bowers
















Love Frees


All day long a little burro labours, sometimes 
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes
just with worries
about things that bother only
burros.

And worries, as we know, can be more
exhausting
than physical labour.

Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a  pear, but more 
than that, 
he looks into the burro's eyes and touches her
ears 
and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh, 
because love does 
that.

Love frees.





Meister Eckhart






I wish I could speak like music




I wish I could speak like music.  I wish I could put
the swaying splendor of fields into words so that

you could hold Truth against your body and dance.
I am trying the best I can with this crude brush, 

the tongue, to cover you with light.  I wish I could
speak like divine music.  I want to give you the

sublime rhythms of this earth and sky's limbs
as they joyously spin and surrender, surrender

against God's luminous breath.  Hafiz wants you
to hold me against your precious body and dance, 
dance.





Hafiz







And What is Time?


And an astronomer said, Master, what of Time: 

And he answered:  
You would measure time the measure-
less and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even
direct the course of your spirit according to
hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon 
whose bank you would sit and watch its
flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's 
timelessness.
And knows that yesterday is but today's
memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contem-
plates in you is still dwelling within the 
bounds of that first moment which scat-
tered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his
power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, 
though boundless, encompassed within the
centre of his being, and moving not from 
love thought to love thought, nor from 
love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided
and spaceless? 





Kahlil Gibran












Friday, November 1, 2013

In Blackwater Woods



Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.





Mary Oliver









Monday, October 28, 2013

beloved


The real beloved is your beginning and end.
When you find that one, 
You'll no longer expect anything else.

Rumi










Photo:  Peter Bowers











Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stand Firm



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 nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope 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
Photo:  Peter Bowers












Where we began



Though we are often driven by sorrow,
To seek the end of sorrows,
It is the desire for Love and Love Itself,
That in the end brings us to Freedom.

For when all  hope is lost,
And only Despair remains.
When all paths have failed,
And all efforts proven vain.

Then we sit alone, defeated, with nothing left.
Nothing, that is...
Except what moved us at the onset.
Our Own Shining Heart, our Own Inherent Love.  

We wander for countless ages.
In the heartbreak of giving and receiving,
Until, when grasping is exhausted,
We simply rest as the Love we Are.

The Kingdom of Heaven is Within.
Not in perfection or attainment, 
Not in doing thusly, or understanding profoundly.
Simply Here, where we began.

As we are.
Here.
Now.
Right where we began.





Photo:  Peter Bowers











Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lying beside my wife




Once when I was awake and lying beside
my wife, she whispered in her sleep, "Hafiz, 
I love you."

I don't think I would trade having heard her
soul speak that way, even for all of heaven
saying the same thing.

But is there a difference?  I think loving is
always God, showing us It is here, as much
as the formless can reach into our world. 





Hafiz
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Go Deeper



Go deeper
Past thoughts into silence.
Past silence into stillness.
Past stillness into the heart.
Let love consume all that is left of you.





Kabir
image via:







Tuesday, October 15, 2013

waiting



I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
And wait without love.  For love would be love, 
of the wrong thing. 
Yet there is faith.
But the faith and the hope and the love, are all in the waiting.
And the darkness shall be the light
and the stillness the dancing.





T.S.Eliot
 Photo:  Peter Bowers








  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Anyone Can Sing



Anyone can sing.  You just open your mouth,
and give shape to a sound.  Anyone can sing.

What is harder, is to proclaim the soul,
to initiate a wild and necessary deepening: 

to give the voice broad, sonorous wings
of solitude, grief, and celebration, 

to fill the body with the echoes of voices
lost long ago to bravery, and silence,

to prise the reluctant heart wide open, 
to witness defeat, to suffer contempt, 

to shrink, lose face, go down in ignominy,
to retreat to the last dark hiding-space

where the tattered remnants of your pride
still gather themselves around your nakedness, 

to know these rags as your only protection
and yet still open -  to face the possibility
that your innermost core may hold nothing at all, 

and to sing from that - to fill the void
with every hurt, every harm, every hard-won joy
that staves off death yet honours its coming, 

to sing both full and utterly empty, 
alone and conjoined, exiled and at home, 

to sing what people feel most keenly
yet never acknowledge until you sing it. 

Anyone can sing.  Yes.  Anyone can sing.    





William Ayot
Photo:  Peter Bowers












Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Write of That Journey


I remember how my mother would hold me.
I would look up at her sometimes and see her weep.

I understand now what was happening.
Love so strong a force
it broke the cage, 

and she disappeared from everything
for a blessed
moment.

All actions have evolved 
from the taste of flight; 
the hope of freedom
moves our cells
and limbs.

Unable to live on the earth, Mira ventured out alone in the sky - 
I write of that journey
of becoming as 
free as
God.

Don't forget love; 
it will bring all the madness you need
to unfurl yourself across
the universe.





Mira 
From:  Love Poems from God
Daniel Ladinsky 
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, September 17, 2013

dew light


Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day

there is less of it I know none of that 
as I walk out through the early garden

only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up

without a number or a present age.  





W.S. Merwin 
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Path



There is No Path that Goes all the Way 
Han Shan

Not that it stops us looking
for the full continuation.

The one line in the poem
we can start and follow

straight to the end.  The fixed belief
we can hold, facing a stranger

that saves us the trouble 
of a real conversation.

But one day you are not
just imagining an empty chair

where your loved one sat.
You are not just telling a story

where the bridge is down
and there's nowhere to cross.

You are not just trying to pray
to a God you imagined
would keep you safe.

No, you've come to the place
where nothing you've done

will impress and nothing you 
can promise will avert

the silent confrontation.
The place where

your body already seems to know
the way, having kept

to the last, its own secret
reconnaissance.

But still, there is no path
that goes all the way,

one conversation leads 
to another, 

one breath to the next
until

there's no breath at all, 

just
the inevitable 
final release
of the  burden.

And then, 
wouldn't your life
have to start 
all over again
for you to know
even a little 
of who you had been? 





David Whyte







Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sweet Darkness



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 home
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.





David Whyte
Photo:  Peter Bowers








Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love After Love




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 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.





Derek Walcott
Photo:  Peter Bowers













For The Senses




May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth

And when you partake 
Of food and drink, 
May your taste quicken 
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.

May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.  





John O'Donohue
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Monday, September 2, 2013

still here...



My dear octogenarian father looks at me from across the restaurant table with those eyes, pregnant with a lifetime of reflections, and says, "Strange how it all ... turns out... so unexpected..."

"How do you mean, dad?"

"You go through life, doing this and that... you have children, they grow up... you work, you make money, you lose money, you retire... they take everything away from you... but... well... I'm still... we're still... here... aren't we, son... ?

Still here, dad.   Still here.





Jeff Foster







Friday, August 23, 2013

Gently...



Last night
I begged the wise one to tell me
the secret of the world.
Gently, gently he whispered, 
"Be quiet, 
The secret cannot be spoken, 
It is wrapped in silence." 





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers







rise and fall





Let the waves of the universe rise 
and fall as they will. 

You have nothing to gain or lose. 

You are the ocean.





Ashtavakra Gita
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Friday, August 2, 2013

Love is...


Love is something that is new, fresh, alive.
It has no yesterday and no tomorrow.
It is beyond the turmoil of thought.

It is only the innocent mind which knows what love is, 
and the innocent mind can live in the world which is not innocent.  

To find this extraordinary thing which man has sought
endlessly through sacrifice, through worship,
through relationship, through sex,
through every form of pleasure and pain, 
is only possible when thought
comes to understand itself
and comes naturally to an end.

Then love has no opposite,
then love has no conflict.   





J. Krishnamurti 
Photo:  Peter Bowers







You are the only student you have


You are the only
 faithful student you have.
All the others leave eventually.

Have you been making yourself shallow
with making others eminent?

Just remember, when you're in union, 
you don't have to fear
that you'll be drained. 

The command comes to speak,
and you feel the ocean 
moving through you.  

Then comes, Be silent, 
as when the rain stops, 
and the trees in the orchard
begin to draw moisture
up into themselves. 





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers











barriers





Your task is not to seek for love, 

but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Wednesday, July 31, 2013

love letters



Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
how to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon. 





Ikkyu 
photo:  Peter Bowers






big question




There will be marriage, there will be children,
there will be earning money to maintain a family;
all this will happen in the natural course of events, 
for destiny must fulfill itself; you will go through it without resistance,
facing tasks as they come, attentive and thorough,
both in small things and big. 

But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment,
enormous goodwill, without expectation of return,
constant giving without asking.

In marriage you are neither the husband nor the wife; 
you are the love between the two.

You are the clarity and kindness that makes everything orderly and happy.
It may seem vague to you, but if you think a little,
you will find that the mystical is most practical,
for it makes your life creatively happy.

Your consciousness is raised to a higher dimension,
from which you see everything much clearer and with greater intensity.

You realize that the person you became at birth
and will cease to be at death is temporary and false.

You are not the sensual, emotional and intellectual person,
gripped by desires and fears.  Find out your real being.

What am I?
is the fundamental question of all philosophy and psychology.
Go into it deeply.





Nisargadatta








Their Secret Was




A married couple used to come see me once in
a while.  Among the many I knew who were wed,
they appeared the most happy.

One day I said to them, "What marital advice
could you offer to others that might help them
achieve the grace you found?"

And the young woman blushed and so did her
husband; so I did not press them to answer.
But I knew.

Their secret was this:  That once every day, for 
an hour, they treated each other as if they were 
gods and would, with all their heart, do anything, 
anything, their beloved desired.

Sometimes that just meant holding hands and
walking in a forest that renewed their souls.





Rumi
translation:  Daniel Landinsky






Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the same as everything


We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, 
as the rain that falls. 

We consist of that which is around us.

We are the same as everything. 





Buddha
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Beside the Waterfall


At dawn
the big dog - 
Winston by name - 
reached down

into the leaves - tulips and willows mostly - 
beside the white 
waterfall, 
and dragged out, 

into plain sight, 
a fawn, 
it was scarcely larger
than a rabbit, 

and thankfully,
it was dead.
Winston
looked over the

delicate, spotted body and then
deftly
tackled
the beautiful flower-like head,

breaking it and
breaking it off and
swallowing it.
All the while this was happening

it was growing lighter.
When I called to him
Winston merely looked up.
Grizzled around the chin

and with kind eyes,
he, too, if you're willing
had a face like a flower; and then the red sun

which had been raising all the while anyway,
broke
clear of the trees and dropped its wild, clawed light
over everything. 





Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Monday, July 15, 2013

Do you think I know what I'm doing?



Do  you think I know what I'm doing? 

That for one breath or half-breath that I belong to myself? 

As much as a pen knows what it's writing, 

or the ball can guess where it's going next? 





Rumi
photo:  Peter Bowers








Monday, July 1, 2013

Wildflowers



You have travelled up ten thousand steps in search of the dharma.
So many long days in the archives, copying, copying, copying. 

The gravity of the Tang and the profundity of the Sung
make heavy baggage.  

Here ! I've picked you a bunch of wildflowers.
Their meaning is the same
but they're much easier to carry.





Xu Yun 






Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mysteries, Yes




Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous 
to be understood. 
How grass can be nourishing in the 
mouths of lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity.
while we ourselves dream of rising. 
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the 
scars of damage, 
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment, 
and bow their heads.





Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers












Thursday, June 27, 2013

Long Life




For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking.  Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just 
stand there, loving every 
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind, 
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness like that. 





Mary Oliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Giving



You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have - 
and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. 
And there are those who have little and give it all. 
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; 
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; 
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving my be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in the orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. 
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?  
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?  
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.  
For in truth it is life that gives unto life -
while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers - and you are all receivers - 
assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. 
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; 
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.  





Kahlil Gibran
Photo:  Peter Bowers






  

hiding in this cage




hiding in this cage
of visible matter

is the invisible
 lifebird

pay attention
to her

she is singing 
your song





Kabir
image via:  sweetlysurreal






we are...



We are
People who need to love, 
because
Love is the soul's life. 

Love is simply creation's 
greatest joy.  





Hafiz
Photo:  Peter Bowers