Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver's words are like none other-she is now officially my favorite poet. She speaks a language of the soul so simple that all can connect with her words.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean
--the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down
--who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Reality: Really Real?

Are you reading this poem? Who is this you? Do you see yourself asking who is this reading? Who witnesses you asking this of your self?

We call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine without a name,
whether general, particular,
permanent, passing, incorrect, or apt.

Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
It doesn't feel itself seen or touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill,
is only our experience, not its.
For it, it is no different from falling on anything else
with no assurance that it has finished falling
or that it is falling still.

The window has a wonderful view of the lake,
but the view doesn't view itself.
It exists in this world
colorless, shapeless,
soundless, odorless, and painless.

The lake's floor exists floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and its waves to themselves are neither singular or plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it, its only reason being
that it blows.

A second passes.
A second second passes.
A third.
But they're three seconds only for us.

Time has passed like a courier with urgent news,
but that's just our simile.
The character is invented, his haste is make- believe,
his news inhuman.

View With A Grain Of Sand
By Wislawa Syzmborska

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shit Happens

Shit and the Isms of the World

Taoism: Shit Happens.
Hare Krishna: Shit Happens Rama Rama Ding Ding.
Hinduism: This Shit Happened Before.
Islam: If Shit Happens, Take A Hostage.
Zen: What Is The Sound Of Shit Happening?
Buddhism: When Shit Happens, Is It Really Shit?
Confucianism: Confucius Say, "Shit Happens."
7th Day Adventist: Shit Happens On Saturdays.
Protestanism: Shit Won't Happen If I Work Harder.
Catholicism: If Shit Happens, I Deserve It.
Jehovah's Witness: Knock, Knock, "Shit Happens."
Unitarian: What Is This Shit?
Mormon: Shit Happens Again & Again & Again.
Judaism: Why Does This Shit Always Happen To Us?
Rastafarianism: Let's Smoke This Shit.
Southern Baptist: Send Us Money And Shit Won't Happen.
Calvinsim: Shit happens because you don't work hard enough.
Hedonism: There's nothing like a good shit happening.
Moonies: Would You Like To Buy Some Shit?
Stoicism: This shit is good for me.
Christian Science: Shit is in your mind.
Environmentalism: You produce shit, so you have to eat it.
Socialism: Sorry, we are out of shit today.
Atheism: Can you believe this shit?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

For Lance

I know Lance-

no longer in need of body,
seen everywhere and free...

mingling where there are angels,
where there is morning mist,
ocean wave and mountain breeze,
where there is starry night,
when time reveals secrets,
how God, she works her mysteries,
giving and giving and giving even more,

she gives us Lance Livesay-everywhere we look now,
and I am thankful for this fullness.

In memory of Lance Livesay, friend and associate minister of Unity Louisville, who left his body on June 4th and is now to be found everywhere, and in all things.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Amazing Zen Thoughts


1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like -- night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. I just got lost in thought. It wasn't familiar territory.

5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

8. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

9. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

10. He who laughs last, didn't get the joke.

11. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

12. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

13. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

14. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

15. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your week.

16. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

17. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

18. Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!

19. Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

20. Always try to be modest, and be proud of it!

21 If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

22. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand...

23. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

24. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

25. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

26. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

27. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

28. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

29. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

30. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

31. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

32. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

33. I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

34. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

35. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

36. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.

37. Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What Is Enough?

Sensing myself moving away from the silence (how long has it been since I really wrapped myself in complete silence and drifted, just drifted in this thought....) I find it difficult to regain my footing and I slip past the edge and into the chaos. This isn't me; why am I acting this way?

I am sensing a disturbance in the Force (did I just write that?) Yes, I did.

And like a lost little boy, I wander around inside my pitiful ness at being unsettled and vow to be stronger, be bolder in not resisting the urge to become angry; to just let it be- see my anger, breathe in...and breathe out and away....

But it comes again, and at such short intervals, gaps becoming murkier and murkier. This isn't what I know to be, why do I loose my center and fade into the grayness?

Does it take unbalance to recognize balance? Yes, that must be it. How much unbalance? Writing helps to makes sense and restore a centeredness... but for now, I let this unbalance be, and experience this question.

There is a reason.

I am reminded by my friend Meredith that behind all, including this, is Clear Mind. I choose now to step into the silence and recognize what I am- and what I am not.

It is enough.

"God makes us ask ourselves questions most often when He intends to resolve them. He gives us needs that He alone can satisfy and awakens capacities that He means to fulfill. Any perplexity is liable to be a spiritual gestation, leading to a new birth and a mystical regeneration."

Thomas Merton

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What Is Wisdom?

"Thinking about the past and future is all right if you understand what these things really are, but you must not get caught up in them. Treat them the same as you would anything else - don't get caught up. When you see thinking as just thinking, then that's wisdom. Don't believe in any of it! Recognize that all of it is just something that has arisen and will cease. Simply see everything just as it is - it is what it is - the mind is the mind - it's not anything or anybody in itself.

Happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering - it is just what it is. When you see this you will be beyond doubt."

Ajahn Chah

Here, like these words

they are just here, nothing special
in fact, I think while writing,
they rest,
lingering under smooth polish,
rounder spoon cradle- like stones,

each warbles, “continue
continue” as loved mercurially,

some exotic drenched dwelling
each rests, like stars in the sky counting,

first one and then one, then another
counting backwards from infinity-

who moves them in place,
skipping and skimming, riding a rusty nova

until we will never reach zero.

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