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Archive for the ‘solitude’ Category

 

The Swan

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

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Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

 

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Natasha Dern, Huffington Post

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I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments –
he got so excited

and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.

And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:

everything imparts
His grace.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

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Non-Duality
The bell tolls at four in the morning.
I stand by the window,
barefoot on the cool floor.
.
The garden is still dark.
I wait for the mountains and rivers to reclaim their shapes.
There is no light in the deepest hours of the night.
.
Yet, I know you are there
in the depth of the night,
the immeasurable world of the mind.
You, the known, have been there
ever since the knower has been.
The dawn will come soon,
and you will see
that you and the rosy horizon
are within my two eyes.It is for me that the horizon is rosy
and the sky blue.
.
Looking at your image in the clear stream,
you answer the question by your very presence.
Life is humming the song of the non-dual marvel.
.
I suddenly find myself smiling
in the presence of this immaculate night.
.
I know because I am here that you are there,
and your being has returned to show itself
in the wonder of tonight’s smile.
.
In the quiet stream,I swim gently.
The murmur of the water lulls my heart.
.
A wave serves as a pillow
I look up and see
a white cloud against the blue sky,
the sound of Autumn leaves,
the fragrance of hay-
each one a sign of eternity.
.
A bright star helps me find my way back to myself.
I know because you are there that I am here.
.
The stretching arm of cognition
in a lightning flash,
joining together a million eons of distance,
joining together birth and death,
joining together the known and the knower.
.
In the depth of the night,
as in the immeasurable realm of consciousness,
the garden of life and I
remain each other’s objects.
.
The flower of being is singing the song of emptiness.
.
The night is still immaculate,
but sounds and images from you
have returned and fill the pure night.
.
I feel their presence.
By the window, with my bare feet on the cool floor,
I know I am here
for you to be.
.
“Call Me By My True Names” 

The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh.

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There is a whisper, but it’s louder than the wind.
It calls to us, “Come Home. The story is over, the pages are worn thin. Come
home.” It’s like a chant,
a sacred OM underlying all else. It requires no doing anything, or going
anywhere or becoming anything.
If only we see that we are this whispering sound,
all else will dissolve into peace.

~Rafael Stoneman

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Everything I steal, I give away.
Once, in pines almost as tall as these,
same crescent moon sliding gently by,
I sat curled on my knees, smoking with a friend,
sipping tea, swapping Coyote tales and lies.

He said something to me
about words, that each is a name,
and that every name is God’s. I who have
no god sat in the vast emptiness silent
as I could be. A way that can be named

is not the way. Each word reflects
the Spirit which can’t be named. Each word
a gift, its value in exact proportion
to the spirit in which it is given.
Thus spoken, these words I give

by way of Lao Tzu’s old Chinese, stolen
by a humble thief twenty-five centuries later.
The Word is only evidence of the real:
in the Hopi tongue, there is no whale;
and, in American English, no Fourth World.

Sam Hamill

 

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“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” – Louise Erdrich

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