Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Inner History of a Day

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws not attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us. 

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

John O'Donohue
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Waking

I give thanks for arriving 
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.

John O'Donohue 
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Ascending Soul

I died as mineral and became a plant, I died as plant
and rose to animal,

I died as creatures on hoofs and with feathers and look, 
look...I became a beautiful woman, I became a 
beautiful man.

What should we fear, darlings?  When were we ever less
by dying? 

Though, once again, I will know the demise of my senses 
and thoughts, so as to mingle more with angel ways.

Yet, even from these heavenly realms we must pass on, 
for all except God does perish.

When I have relinquished every aspect of self, I shall
become what the mind cannot conceive.  

Oh, let me not exist in any form that is limited by names ! 
There is a divine non-existence that proclaims, in exquisite
organ tones, 

back to the source of the Immaculate we shall return, back
to the cause of every god...we are.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

When human beings meditate

When human beings meditate
they sometimes close their eyes
and feel this body -
a flickering field of sensation
a tingling, hot and cold,
gravity here and there.

And attend to the breath
as the belly or nostrils
choose one
and stay there five years -

not the thought of the breath
but the sensations accompanying
each inhalation, each
exhalation.  The beginning
the middle and the end
of each in-breath
and the space between
where thinking wriggles free.

The beginning
and end
of each out-breath

and the space between
and thought
and the space between thoughts -

returning to the breath -
just the sensation breathing itself,
sensations sensing themselves
floating in space.  Even some idea of who
is doing all this
floats by.
Just another bubble.

Another thought thinking itself all by itself
the fragile moment
vanishing in space

returning to the breath
like a devotee to a vow.

Watching thoughts
think themselves,
unfolding one into the next -
existing only a moment
before dissolving, watched
frame by frame in the passing show,
even such notions as impermanence
passing in the flow.

Observing feelings arise uninvited -
pleasure and pain, desire and
disappointment, liking and disliking
all day long from thought
to thought, a surprisingly mechanical
process unfolds.
Watching consciousness dream world
after world, self after self, constantly pretending
someone to be, arising and dissolving
quicker than advertised, unconvinced
we really exist.

Sinking into the light of awareness
that floods consciousness and sees
what we are looking for is
what is looking.

The breath breathing itself,
thoughts thinking themselves
feelings feeling themselves,
moment to moment unfolding.

When human beings meditate
they sometimes close their eyes
and enter their body with mercy
and awareness - follow their thought
to its source, noting the pressure
at the base of the spine
and the fountain in the skull.

Sometimes when we meditate
nothing special occurs
for the very first time.

Stephen Levine

Saturday, March 23, 2013

people like us

There are more like us.  All over the world
There are confused people, who can't remember
The name of their dog when they wake up, and people
Who love God but can't remember where

He was when they went to sleep.  It's 
All right.  The world cleanses itself this way.
A wrong number occurs to you in the middle 
Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time

To save the house.  And the second-story man
Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives,
And he's lonely, and they talk, and the thief
Goes back to college.  Even in graduate school,

You can wander into the wrong classroom, 
And hear great poems lovingly spoken
By the wrong professor.  And you find your soul,
And greatness has a defender, and even in death you're safe.

Robert Bly 

Friday, March 22, 2013

love fire

Devotion is the love-fire of God
for itself; the spontaneous fire of the heart
for itself; natural movement of Truth as it moves 
towards its own recognition. 
Life is devotion's love child.

Ellen Davis 
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Thursday, March 21, 2013


To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, 
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same; 

Every spear of grass  - the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, 
and all that concerns them,

All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

Walt Whitman
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Every word of every tongue is

Every word of every tongue is
Love telling a story to her own ears.
Every thought in every mind,
She whispers a secret to her own Self.
Every vision in every eye, 
She shows her beauty to her own sight. 
Every smile on every face, 
She reveals her own joy for herself to enjoy.  

Love courses through everything, 
No, Love is everything. 
How can you say there is no love,
When nothing but love exists?
All that you see has appeared because of love. 
All shines from Love,
All pulses with Love, 
All flows from Love - 
No, once again - all IS Love ! 

Fakhruddin 'Iraqi
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Each image painted

Each image painted
on the canvas of existence 
is the form
of the artist himself.
Eternal Ocean
spews forth new waves,
"Waves" we call them;
but there is only the Sea.

Many disparate waves do not make the sea a multiplicity;
no more do the Names make the Named more than One.
When the sea breathes they call it mist; 
when mist piles up they call it clouds.
It falls again, 
they name it rain;
it gathers itself and rejoins the sea.
And it is now the same sea it ever was.  

Fakhruddin 'Iraqi
Photo:  Peter Bowers