Friday, February 27, 2015

John O'Donohue: For a New Father

For Brian

For a New Father 
As the shimmer of dawn transforms the night
Into a blush of color futured with delight,
The eyes of your new child awaken in you
A brightness that surprises your life.

Since the first stir of its secret becoming,
The echo of your child has lived inside you,
Strengthening through all its night of forming
Into a sure pulse of fostering music.

How quietly and gently that embryo-echo
Can womb in the bone of a man
And foster across the distance to the mother
A shadow-shelter around this fragile voyage.

Now as you behold your infant, you know
That this child has come from you and to you;
You feel the full force of a father's desire
To protect and shelter.
Perhaps for the first time,
There awakens in you
A sense of your own mortality.
May your heart rest in the grace of the gift
And you sense how you have been called
Inside the dream of this new destiny.
May you be gentle and loving,
Clear and sure.
May you trust in the unseen providence
That has chosen yo all to be a family.
May you stand sure on our ground
And know that every grace you need
Will unfold before you
Like all the mornings of your life.
- John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us:
A Book of Blessings

Thích Nhất Hạnh: Life Bursts With Miracles

Around us, life bursts with miracles--a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life's daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.


Eva Pierrakos: The Gateway

Through the gateway of feeling your weakness
lies your strength.

Through the gateway of feeling your pain
lies your pleasure and joy.

Through the gateway of feeling your fear
lies security and safety.

Through the gateway of feeling your loneliness
lies your capacity
to have fulfillment, love, and companionship.

Through the gateway of feeling your hopelessness
lies true and justified hope.

Through the gateway of accepting the lacks 
of your childhood 
lies your fulfillment now.

~ Eva Pierrakos,
The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Carl Jung: A Thousand Disguises

We meet ourselves in a thousand
disguises along the path.

- Carl Jung

John O'Donohue: For a Mother-To-Be

For Marita
 For a Mother-To-Be
Nothing could have prepared 
Your heart to open like this.

From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside of you 
And started to pulse with life
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes,
On its way home to itself.

Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.

It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;

Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed 
With every fiber of your being.

Never have you traveled farther inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
unable to reach the fund of brightness
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.

Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essence
That flow to your child.

You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.

May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.

May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart,
So that it can grow with ease,
Expectant of wonder and welcome 
When its form is fully filled

And it makes it journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved and glad in your arms.

- John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us:
A Book of Blessings

The Limitless Potential For Healing

Another quiet gift we bring is the gift of simply doing no harm: to refrain from judging ourselves and others, not to use sarcasm or anger to advance our cause, not to be hurtful in our speech or our actions. If we simply refrain from causing suffering, then the limitless potential for natural healing can quietly arise unimpeded.
- Wayne Muller

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Robert Thurman: Seeing Through Separation

You can experience yourself as the other beings 
when you see through the delusion of being separated from them. 
When you do that, you’re forced to feel what they feel.

- Robert Thurman

Rumi: All One Light

All religions,
all this singing,
is one song.
The differences are just
illusion and vanity.
The sun's light looks a little different
on this wall than it does on that wall...
but it's all one light.

- Rumi

Ram Dass: The Life Within

The Life Within
In the elderly, two sets of values operate simultaneously: the desire to stay active and to maintain a sense of self-worth in the eyes of others, and the desire to withdraw from social commitments to a more leisurely, contemplative life. Although this inward-turning is viewed by some as antisocial, a problem to be solved or worried about (“I used to be so active, what’s wrong with me?”), it seems to be a natural by-product of aging. This isn’t a paranoid drawing-inward, it isn’t being afraid of the world, but rather a kind of deepening that seems to result from the nearness of death, and the desire to reflect on what life is all about.
It is important to create opportunities for doing that – to build some time into our lives to consider our deepest questions about who we are, where we are, and how it all makes sense. It’s a great feeling to be able to open the door to mystery and reflect on the deeper significance of life. Slowing down is the only way to take advantage of this opportunity.
I receive a lot of letters from spiritual seekers who tell me that they’re lonely on their path, live in small towns and have no one around with whom to share how they’re feeling. They’re looking for fellowship, a community of like-minded Souls with whom to voice their concerns about the deeper issues surrounding aging, the mystery of death, and how to remain conscious in the face of physical, social and psychological challenges. Community is vital to help us reorient ourselves to a spiritual perspective. It helps to have fellow seekers in your life who can help you to stay on-track, and who remind you gently when you seem to have lost your way. Being in the company of people engaged in conscious-aging practice helps strengthen our resolve, and helps us stand firm against the cultural message that conspire against elder wisdom.
It’s important for us to seek out opportunities for connecting with others on this path of wisdom, and when this isn’t possible, to find other ways to cultivate some means of staying connected. Books are an excellent tool for maintaining such support; in the years when I traveled a great deal and couldn’t always be in the company of others on a conscious path, I kept a cache of reliable book-friends with me: the quotes of Lao Tzu, the Dhammapada or the Gita, as a lifeline to wisdom. I have a very dear friend whose grandmother is a Christian Scientist; although a very worldly person, she reads the literature of her faith every day without fail, and has done so for many years. Although her family is worried that this faith might compromise her willingness to accept medical treatment as she gets older, this lady seems quite happy, and uses her spiritual studies to remain grounded in a Soul perspective.
Our relationship with the world at large shifts from “outer” to “inner.” We learn, as our worldly roles fall away, to place emphasis on connections of the heart. We come to recognize and honor our relationships with family, friends, and the greater community. Although we may remain active in our communities, we do not forget that old age is a time for reflection and inner work. Free of the pressure to achieve, and of the masks we’ve worn to operate in society, we focus our attention on remaining mindful of each precious passing day, and on not becoming entangled in the voices of our Ego. Equipped with this wisdom we find ourselves free to live more creatively than ever before. We create our lives from a place of equanimity and peace, from the quiet spaciousness of being awake, and in love, among all living things.
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