Monday, December 28, 2015

the future unknown...


i.

The calendar all booked up, the future unknown.
The cable silently hums some folk song
but lacks a country.  Snow falls in the gray sea.  Shadows
fight out on the dock. 

ii.

Halfway through your life, death turns up
and takes your pertinent measurements.  We forget
the visit.  Life goes on.  But someone is sewing 
the suit in silence.  







Tomas Transtromer
translation:  Robert Bly 
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Thursday, December 24, 2015

lute music


Let us celebrate

The Earth will be going on a long time
Before it finally freezes;
Men will be on it; they will take names, 
Give their deeds reasons.
We will be here only 
As chemical constituents - 
A small franchise indeed.

Right now we have lives,
Corpuscles, Ambitions, Caresses,
Like everybody had once - 
Here at the year's end, at the feast
Of birth, let us bring to each other
The gifts brought once west through deserts - 
The precious metal of our mingled hair, 
The frankincense of enraptured arms and legs, 
The myrrh of desperate, invincible kisses - 

Let us celebrate the daily
Recurrent nativity of love,
The endless epiphany of our fluent selves,
While the earth rolls away under us
Into unknown snows and summers,
Into untraveled spaces of the stars.





Kenneth Rexroth
Photo:  Peter Bowers








Tuesday, December 22, 2015

now in the blessed days...



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







Monday, December 21, 2015

the ancient womb




The world rests in the night.

Trees, mountains, fields, and faces
 are released from the prison of shape 
and the burden of exposure.

Each thing creeps back into its own nature 
within  the shelter of the dark.

Darkness is the ancient womb.

 Nighttime is womb-time.  Our souls come out to play.

The darkness absolves everything; 
the struggle for identity and impression falls away.

We rest in the night.





John O'Donohue
Anam Cara
Photo:  Peter Bowers













Sunday, December 20, 2015

at home


I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don't come with me.
You stay home too.




Wendell Berry
Photo:  Peter Bowers









.

Monday, December 7, 2015

song of not-being and being


The world is no more than the Beloved's single face;
In the desire of the One to know its own beauty, we exist.

Each place, each moment, sings its particular song of not-being and being.
Without reason, the clear glass equally mirrors wisdom and madness.

Those who claim knowledge are wrong; prayer just leads to trance;
Appearance and faith are mere lees in the Unknowing Wine.

Wherever the Footprint is found,
the handful of dust holds the oneness of worlds.  

This earth, burnished by hearing the Name, is so certain of Love
That the sky bends unceasingly down, to greet its own light.





Ghalib
Translated by Jane Hirshfield
Photo:  Peter Bowers









Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Always Touching


Always,
Enjoying,
The Perfume of the Beloved.

Even with eyes open,
Here,
In the world of form.

Even with Attention moving,
Here and there,
In “mundane” activity.

The Extraordinary… Ordinary.
The Ordinary… Extraordinary.

Always, ever,
Intoxicated,
By the Ecstasy that She is.

When Attention rests,
She is there,
Pulling at my Heart.

Always whispering,
Always touching,
Turning my face to Hers.

She exists in me,
As me,
And I in Her…

And… neither.
For “we” do not exist
At all.

There is only…
This!






Chuck Surface
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Only Love




In the end there is only love 

and love can never die, 

can never be born, 

can never die.  





Jean Klein
Photo:  Peter Bowers





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

sit and be still


Sit and be still

until in the time
of no rain you hear

beneath the dry wind's
commotion in the trees

the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,

a stream unheard before,

and you are where
breathing is prayer.





Wendell Berry
Photo:  Peter Bowers









Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All This Nonsense


Gautama experienced a profound shift,
In the nature of his Experience of Being,
And, responding to questions about it…

Gave birth to Buddhism.

But when Gautama died, in no time at all,
There arose debate and disagreement,
About this, that, and the other…

About “true” Buddhism…

And there arose, from one View, many.

So it seems, with all great teachings,
The Master's passing, and in no time at all,
Disagreement and debate…

And the arising, from one View, of many.

How vast and varied, expressions of “truth”,
Each indicative of the utter futility,
Of describing the Indescribable…

Of capturing The Great Mystery in a jar.

All in the nature of things, it appears,
But oh, so very wearying,
Wearying enough to drive one…

Within.

Within… where long ago in distant lands,
In the experiences of those long dead,
All of this nonsense began…

Within.

Perhaps we, too, should venture There,
And enjoining both Heart and Mind,
In that Inward Journey…

Find out what all this nonsense is about.






Photo:  Peter Bowers







Saturday, November 14, 2015

beauty


Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we're lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.






Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Wednesday, November 11, 2015

great self


The universe must be experienced as the Great Self. 

Each is fulfilled in the other: the Great Self is fulfilled in the individual self, the individual self is fulfilled in the Great Self. Alienation is overcome as soon as we experience this surge of energy from the source that has brought the universe through the centuries.

New fields of energy become available to support the human venture. These new energies find expression and support in celebration. For in the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration.

It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself.




Thomas Berry
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, November 10, 2015

unbelief


Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief
better:
all beings free to leave their being
and enter silence.

The nameless tree with its forest
of green,
the endless expanse called
sky, beaks and

feathered wings with their urgent
conversations;
all around, the light that sets the vital body
to humming,

and the dark of re-creation:
the world held for us in promise
until it is loosened from
our thinking.





Andrew Colliver
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Thursday, October 22, 2015

Silence


Silence is our real nature. What we are fundamentally, is only silence. Silence is free from beginning and end. It was before the beginning of all things. It is causeless. Its greatness lies in the fact that it
simply is.

In silence all objects have their home ground. It is the light that gives objects their shape
and form. All movement, all activity is harmonized by silence.

Silence has no opposite in noise. It is beyond positive and negative. Silence dissolves all objects. It is not related to any counterpart which belongs to the mind. Silence has nothing to do with mind. It cannot be defined but it can be felt directly because it is our nearness. Silence is freedom without restriction or center. It is our wholeness, neither inside nor outside the body. Silence is joyful, not pleasurable. It is not psychological. It is feeling without a feeler. Silence needs no intermediary.

Silence is holy. It is healing. There is no fear in silence. Silence is autonomous like love and beauty. It is untouched by time. Silence is meditation, free from any intention, free from anyone who meditates.  Silence is the absence of oneself. Or rather, silence is the absence of absence.

Sound which comes from silence is music. All activity is creative when it comes from silence. It is constantly a new beginning. Silence precedes speech and poetry and music and all art. Silence is the home ground of all creative activity. What is truly creative is the word, is Truth. Silence is the word. Silence is Truth.

The one established in silence lives in constant offering, in prayer without asking, in thankfulness, in continual love.





Jean Klein
Photo:  Peter Bowers














Wednesday, October 21, 2015

teaching silence


I teach silence
in all languages
through intensive examination of:
the starry sky,
the Sinanthropus’ jaws,
a grasshopper’s hop,
an infant’s fingernails,
plankton,
a snowflake.





Wislawa Szymborska
Classifieds
photo:  Peter Bowers






Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thanking


I think as long as you are a human being 
there is thanking, gratitude for being, 
not for being human, 
but for being
what you fundamentally are.
Thanking for the sake of thanking.





Jean Klein
Transmission of the Flame 







Saturday, October 10, 2015

thanks giving


Wonder, as the child of mystery, is a natural source of prayer.
One of the most beautiful forms of prayer is the prayer of appreciation.  This prayer arises out of the recognition of the gracious kindness of creation.  We have been given so much.  We could never have merited or earned it.  When you appreciate all you are and all you have, you can celebrate and enjoy it.  You realize how fortunate you are.  Providence is blessing you and inviting you to be generous with your gifts.  You are able to bless life and give thanks to God.  The prayer of appreciation has no agenda but gracious thanks.  Nothing is given to you for yourself alone.  When you receive some blessing or gift, you do it in the name of others; through you, they, too, will come to share in the kindness of Providence.




John O'Donohue
from Eternal Echoes
Photo: Peter Morgan







Friday, October 9, 2015

Lake and Maple


I want to give myself
utterly
as this maple
that burned and burned
for three days without stinting
and then in two more
dropped off every leaf;
as this lake that,
no matter what comes
to its green-blue depths,
both takes and returns it.

In the still heart that refuses nothing,
the world is twice-born—
two earths wheeling,
two heavens,
two egrets reaching
down into subtraction;
even the fish
for an instant doubled,
before it is gone.
I want the fish.

I want the losing it all
when it rains and I want
the returning transparence.
I want the place
by the edge-flowers where
the shallow sand is deceptive,
where whatever
steps in must plunge,
and I want that plunging.

I want the ones
who come in secret to drink
only in early darkness,
and I want the ones
who are swallowed.

I want the way
the water sees without eyes,
hears without ears,
shivers without will or fear
at the gentlest touch.

I want the way it
accepts the cold moonlight
and lets it pass,
the way it lets
all of it pass
without judgment or comment.

There is a lake,
Lalla Ded sang, no larger
than one seed of mustard,
that all things return to.
O heart, if you
will not, cannot, give me the lake,
then give me the song.





Jane Hirshfield
Photo:  Peter Bowers








Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cream, Two Sugars, Please


Within… Fullness, Completion, and Bliss,
Without… She prefers milk chocolate to dark.

Within… nothing can be added, nothing taken away,
Without… everything comes to Her, and goes.

Within… Unmoving, Ineffable Sublimity,
Without… She experiences ever changing manifestation.

Within… joy and sorrow have never been,
Without… She Shines, even in the midst of tears.

Within… time and space have never existed,
Without… She is born, grows old, and dies.

Within… within and without never were,
Without… within and without ever are.

Within… no preferences, propensities, proclivities,
Without… cream, two sugars, please.

Within… The Sun Shines,
Without… All is Illumined.












Friday, September 25, 2015

this we have now


This we have now 
is not imagination. 

This is not grief or joy. 

Not a judging state, 
or an elation, 
or sadness. 

Those come and go. 

This is the presence 

that doesn't.





Rumi
Translation:  Coleman Barks 
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Monday, September 21, 2015

What's in the Temple?


In the quiet spaces of my mind a thought lies still, but ready to spring. 
It begs me to open the door so it can walk about.
The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.
The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thigh calling for us to follow.
The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing. 
The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.
If she stands still it will catch up with her.
Pause with us here a while.
Put your ear to the wall of your heart.
Listen for the whisper of knowing there.
Love will touch you if you are very still.

If I say the word God, people run away.
They've been frightened - sat on 'till the spirit cried "uncle."
Now they play hide and seek with somebody they can't name.
They know he's out there looking for them, and they want to be found,
But there is all this stuff in the way.

I can't talk about God and make any sense,
And I can't not talk about God and make any sense.
So we talk about the weather, and we are talking about God.

I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.
Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,
And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.
You see there the consequences of carelessness,
And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.
The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.

We don't build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can't be contained.
Or maybe it can't be sustained inside a building.
Buildings crumble.
It's the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.   






Tom Barrett
Photos:  Peter Bowers






Sunday, September 20, 2015

Intimacy


There's no intimacy in talking “about” The Beloved,
Moving away from Her into words and concepts,
As if She is not Present.

How rude.

She exists in the Quiet Stillness of our Heart,
When Attention returns from outward wandering,
And falls into Her awaiting arms.

How Inexpressibly Beautiful.

Some have turned Her into a science,
And argue Her existence, lawyerly.
They know nothing of Her.

Arid minds.

She cannot be “proven” through argument,
Or anyone “convinced” of Her reality,
Short of direct Experience.

Direct... Experience.

Only Longing entices the Beloved,
From Her Secret Garden…
In the Cave of your Heart.

How Ineffably… Sublime.






Photo:  Peter Bowers













Friday, September 18, 2015

devotion


not pretending to know
not pretending to not know
she stepped into her shoes







tushti












Friday, September 4, 2015

interbeing



The sun has entered me.
The sun has entered me together with the cloud
and the river.
I myself have entered the river,
and I have entered the sun
with the cloud and the river.
There has not been a moment
when we do not interpenetrate.

But before the sun entered me,
the sun was in me -
also the cloud and the river.
Before I entered the river,
I was already in it. 

There has not been a moment
When we have not inter-been.

Therefore you know
that as long as you continue to breathe,
I continue to be in you.





Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo:  Peter Morgan







Saturday, August 29, 2015

by presence


The teacher teaches by presence.
The language of presence is
more powerful than all the verbalizations
from all the languages from the world put together.
It is the eloquence of existence.

If you allow life to become your teacher, it teaches.

But if you turn to books
and want to know whether it be duality or non-duality,
one god or many, one creator, or two, etc.,
if you turn to books and theories,
if you want to dig into the past and base your perception on that,
then the opportunity to live first hand would be missed.





Vimala Thakar
photo:  Peter Morgan







Friday, August 28, 2015

unending love


I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age-old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together,
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you,
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours 
And the songs of every poet past and forever. 





Rabindranath Tagore
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Tuesday, August 25, 2015

blessed are those who know nothing for certain


blessed are those who know nothing for certain,
whose curiosity keeps them beyond the claws of conclusion,
who seek as an impulse of wonderment rather than for gain,
who question everything the pundits proclaim as truth;

whose questions deliver them, willingly or not,
to the fiery face of the Unnameable, and
who find the courage to keep a “yes” alive in spite of terror;
who come back speechless and trembling with gratitude

blessed are those for whom the encounter enlivens a capacity
and a willingness to hold both hands out to the world
(one to hold grief, the other, gratefulness)
for their heart knows the two as one;

who, without choice, stand naked in knowingness;
whose fulfilment is refreshed with every breath;
who are quietly content (which is not to say inert or passive)
in spite of all that life appears to heave at them

blessed are those who know these contented ones,
who count them among their friends and neighbours,
who seek them out for their simple wisdom, knowing
they have nothing to spin or sell – nothing to bestow
other than their crazy head-shaking heart-healing joy:

innocent – ingenious – immanent





miriam louisa
with thanks:  Echoes From Emptiness







Saturday, August 22, 2015

in timelessness and nowhere


Home again. But what was home? 
The fish has vast ocean for home. 
And man has timelessness and nowhere. 
"I won't delude myself with the fallacy of home," he said to himself.
 The four walls are a blanket I wrap around in,
 in timelessness and nowhere, to go to sleep.






D.H. Lawrence
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


V.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.





Wallace Stevens
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Saturday, July 11, 2015

only the dance


At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards;
At the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.

And do not call it fixity.

Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.

Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance,
And there is only the dance.






T. S. Eliot
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Wednesday, June 17, 2015

sweetness


You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.
Only in the awareness of the present, 
can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.
Only in the present, 
can you savor the aroma, 
taste the sweetness, 
appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past, 
or worrying about the future, 
you will completely miss the experience 
of enjoying the cup of tea.
You will look down at the cup, 
and the tea will be gone.
Life is like that.

If you are not fully present, 
you will look around and it will be gone.
You will have missed the feel, the aroma, 
the delicacy and beauty of life.
It will seem to be speeding past you. 
The past is finished.
Learn from it and let it go.
The future is not even here yet. 
Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.
Worrying is worthless.

When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, 
when you stop worrying about what might never happen, 
then you will be in the present moment.
Then you will begin to experience joy in life.





Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo:  Peter Bowers







.

Friday, May 29, 2015

home




Whether drifting through life on a boat or 
climbing toward old age leading a horse, 
each day is a journey and the journey itself is home. 






Basho
Photo:  Peter Bowers












Friday, May 22, 2015

home


Treading along in this dreamlike, illusory realm,
Without looking for the traces I may have left;
A cuckoo's song beckons me to return home,
Hearing this, I tilt my head to see
Who has told me to turn back;
But do not ask me where I am going,
As I travel in this limitless world,
Where every step I take is my home.





Dogen
Photo:  Peter Bowers








Thursday, May 14, 2015

practice


Let silence be the art 
you practice.





 Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Wednesday, May 13, 2015

unfurling



“I don’t believe in an outside agent that creates the world, then walks away. But I feel very strongly there is an intelligence at work in every flower, in every blade of grass, in every cell of my body. And it is that intelligence that, I wouldn’t say created the universe. It is creating the universe. It’s an ongoing process.”




Eckhart Tolle
Photo:  Peter Bowers











nothing other than this



So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.




 Hermann Hesse
from Trees, Reflections and Poems







Tuesday, May 12, 2015

one breath


When my mother was dying
We made a agreement that when she passed
I would have to find her in new ways

She said,

You can find me in the wind
Or in the scent of a rose..

You will find me in the decisions you make…

Help each other

We are all children of the Gods
And we all share one language
And we all share one breath





Lisa Kristine
Photo:  Peter Bowers








the greatest of these


Though I speak with the tongues of angels,
If I have not love...
My words would resound with but a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophesy...
And understand all mysteries...
and all knowledge...

And though I have all faith
So that I could remove mountains,
If I have not love...
I am nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind;
Love tolerates all things,
Aspires to all things.
Love never dies.
While the prophecies shall be done away,
tongues shall be silenced,
knowledge shall fade...
thus then shall linger only
faith, hope, and love...
but the greatest of these...
is love.





1 Corinthians 13
Photo:  Peter Bowers







Monday, May 4, 2015

The Swan


This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.






Rainer Maria Rilke 
Translated by Robert Bly
Photo:   Peter Bowers











Saturday, May 2, 2015

home


Be ordinary. 

Every place is a place of arrival,
every place is a true home for the practitioner.
There is nothing that is not deep and wonderful,
there is nothing that is not liberated.

The most noble person is the person who has nothing to do. 
The only thing you should avoid is thinking about what
you are going to do.

All you need to do is be an ordinary person,
be sovereign wherever you are and use 
that place as your seat of awakening.

You should live your lives in a very natural way. 
Do not put on airs. 
When it is necessary to walk, walk. 
When it is necessary to sit, sit.





Ramana Maharshi
Photo:  Peter Bowers
with thanks:  Love is Place





home


The act of trying to find the way home is what convinces us we are lost.
We’re not lost, we’re not alone, and we’ve never even left home.


Rumi






Friday, April 24, 2015

a thousand ways



Let the beauty we love be what we do
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground 

~

There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground, 
there are a thousand ways to go home again.





Rumi
Photo:  Peter Bowers






Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Altar of This Moment


Place everything you can perceive—
everything you can
see,
hear,
smell,
taste,
or touch,
upon the altar of this moment
and give thanks.

It is over so soon—
this expression,
this single moment of your precious life,
this one heart
pounding itself open
with fear or wild joy,

this one breath rising
in the cold winter air
smoothly and gently
or coughing and sputtering.

Bow, while you can, before
this one taste
of afternoon tea
warming its way to your belly,
or the fragrant orange
exploding its sweet juice
in your grateful mouth.

You have to love
the antics of your mind,
imagining life should only be sweet.
The bitter makes the sweet; and life is both.
It is whole, like you,
before you think yourself to pieces.

Place this moment’s pain and confusion on the altar, too,
and give special thanks for such grace
that wakes you up from sleeping through your life.
Pain is greatly under-rated as a pointer to Unknowing,
yet greatly over-rated when taken as identity.

In this one moment,
your eyes meet mine and there is
a single looking.
What is peering from behind our masks?
Can it touch itself across the room?

Place your palms together;
touch your holy skin.
In another moment it will shed itself.
What will you be then?
What were you before you had two hands?
What are you now?

You cannot capture That
and place It on the altar of this moment.
It is the altar,
and this moment’s infinite expressions,
and the Seeing,
and its own devotion to itself.

You are That.





 Dorothy Hunt
Photo:  Peter Bowers