Be suspicious of what you want.
Be suspicious of what you want.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the roses.
In our souls everything
moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are ununderstandable and say nothing.
The deepest words
of the wise man teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.
The Soul is Here for Its Own Joy
Robert Bly translation
the one who islike a gravedark depressing and bittera sweetheart is a mirrora friend a delicious cakeit isn't worth spendingan hour with anyone elsea companion who isin love only with the selfhas five distinct charactersstone heartedunsure of every steplazy and disinterestedkeeping a poisonous facethe more this companion waits aroundthe more bitter everything will getjust like a vinegargetting more sour with time
enough is said aboutsour and bitter faces
a heart filled with desire forsweetness and tender souls
must not waste itself with
What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears
And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.
But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.
What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world
To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?
O the Beloved Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions -
want to step so quickly
over a beautiful line on God’s palm
as I move through the earth’s
I do not want to touch any object in this world
without my eyes testifying to the truth
that everything is
Something has happened
to my understanding of existence
that now makes my heart always full of wonder
I do not
want to step so quickly
over this sacred place on God’s body
that is right beneath your
love is every only god
who spoke this earth so glad and big
even a thing all small and sad
man,may his mighty briefness dig
for love beginning means return
seas who could sing so deep and strong
one queerying wave will whitely yearn
from each last shore and home come young
so truly perfectly the skies
by merciful love whispered were,
completes its brightness with your eyes
any illimitable star
–E. E. Cummings
What we call the body is not feet or shins,
The body, likewise, is not thighs or loins.
It’s not the belly nor indeed the back,
And from the chest and arms the body is not formed.
The body is not ribs or hands,
Armpits, shoulders, bowels, or entrails;
It is not the head or throat:
From none of these is “body” constituted.
If “body,” step by step,
Pervades and spreads itself throughout its members,
Its parts indeed are present in the parts,
But where does the “body,” in itself, abide!
If “body,” single and entire,
Is present in the hand and other members,
However many parts there are, the hand and all the rest,
You’ll find an equal quantity of “bodies.”
If “body” is not outside or within its parts,
How is it, then, residing in its members?
And since it has no basis other than its parts,
How can it be said to be at all?
Thus there is no “body” in the limbs,
But from illusion does the idea spring,
To be affixed to a specific shape—
Just as when a scarecrow is mistaken for a man.
As long as the conditions are assembled,
A body will appear and seem to be a man.
As long as all the parts are likewise present,
It’s there that we will see a body.
Likewise, since it is a group of fingers,
The hand itself is not a single entity.
And so it is with fingers, made of joints—
And joints themselves consist of many parts.
These parts themselves will break down into atoms,
And atoms will divide according to direction.
These fragments, too, will also fall to nothing.
Thus atoms are like empty space—
they have no real existence.
All form, therefore, is like a dream,
And who will be attached to it, who thus investigates!
The body, in this way, has no existence;
What is male, therefore, and what is female!
The Way of the Bodhisattva
© 1997 by the Padmakara Translation Group
Shambhala Publications, www.shambhala.com
The physics of beauty requires math. The sunflower has spirals of 21, 34, 55, 89, and - in very large sunflowers - 144 seeds. Each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. This pattern seems to be everywhere: in pine needles and mollusk shells, in parrot beaks and spiral galaxies. After the fourteenth number, every number divided by the next highest number results in a sum that is the length-to-width ratio of what we call the golden mean, the basis for the Egyptian pyramids and the Greek Parthenon, for much of our art and even our music. In our own spiral-shaped inner ear’s cochlea, musical notes vibrate at a similar ratio.
The patterns of beauty repeat themselves, over and over. Yet the physics of beauty is enhanced by a self, a unique, self-organizing system. Scientists now know that a single flower is more responsive, more individual, than they had ever dreamed. Plants react to the world. Plants have ways of seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing.
Rooted in soil, a flower is always on the move. Sunflowers are famous for turning toward the sun, east in the morning, west in the afternoon. Light-sensitive cells in the stem “see” sunlight, and the stem’s growth orients the flower. Certain cells in a plant see the red end of the spectrum. Other cells see blue and green. Plants even see wavelengths we cannot see, such as ultraviolet.
Most plants respond to touch. The Venus’s-flytrap snaps shut. Stroking the tendril of a climbing pea will cause it to coil. Brushed by the wind, a seedling will thicken and shorten its growth. Touching a plant in various ways, at various times, can cause it to close its leaf pores, delay flower reproduction, increase metabolism, or produce more chlorophyll.
Plants are touchy-feely. They taste the world around them. Sunflowers use their roots to “taste” the surrounding soil as they search for nutrients. The roots of a sunflower can reach down eight feet, nibbling, evaluating, growing toward the best sources of food. The leaves of some plants can taste a caterpillar’s saliva. They “sniff” the compounds sent out by nearby damaged plants. Research suggests that some seeds taste or smell smoke, which triggers germination.
The right sound wave may also trigger germination. Sunflowers, like pea plants, seem to increase their growth when they hear sounds similar to but louder than the human speaking voice.
In other ways, flowers and pollinators find each other through sound.
A tropical vine, pollinated by bats, uses a concave petal to reflect the bat’s sonar signal.
The bat calls to the flower. The flower responds.
–Sharman Apt Russell
Anatomy of A Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers
... your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body.Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which is nearer to you.If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the body. You move into some unknown dimension; then you can not be found in space and time. So, breath is also the bridge between you, and space and time.Breath has two points.
One is where it touches the body and the universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the universe.We know only one part of the breath. When it moves into the universe, into the body, we know it. But it is always moving from the body to the "no-body," from the "no-body" to the body.There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors.Man is trying to reach further, from earth into space, and man has not yet learned the nearest part of his life ...
The Book of Secrets
When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner, and the above as the below,and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female not be female,then shall you enter the Kingdom.
Everything is natural. The light on your fingertips is starlight. Life begins with coiling — molecules and nebulae. Cruelty, selfishness, and vanity are boring. Each self is many selves. Reason is beauty. Light and darkness are arbitrary divisions. Cleanliness is as undefinable and as natural as filth. The physiological body is pure spirit. Monotony is madness. The frontier is both outside and inside. The universe is the messiah. The senses are gods and goddesses. Where the body is — there are all things.
There is a place you can go
where you are quiet,
a place of water and the light
on the water. Trees are there,
leaves, and the light
on leaves moved by air.
Birds, singing, move
among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come
to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be
little to say, less and less.
Here they are. Here you are.
Here as though gone.
None of us stays, but in the hush
where each leaf in the speech
of leaves is a sufficient syllable
the passing light finds out
surpassing freedom of its way.
Consider the other kingdoms.
The trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze.
Their infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be.
Thus the world grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.
The skyIs a suspended blue ocean.The stars are the fishThat swim.The planets are the white whalesI sometimes hitch a ride on,And the sun and all lightHave forever fused themselvesInto my heart and uponMy skin.There is only one ruleOn this Wild Playground,For every sign Hafiz has ever seenReads the same.They all say,"Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,In the Beloved's DivineGame,O, in the Beloved'sWonderful Game.
–HafizDaniel Ladinsky version
We sit in this courtyard,two forms, shadow outlines with one soul.
Birdsound, leaf moving, early evening star,fragrant damp, and a sweet sickle curve of moon.
You and I in a round, unselved idlingin the garden-beauty detail.
The raucous parrots laugh,and we laugh inside their laughter,the two of us on a bench in Konya,yet amazingly in Khorasan and Iraq as well.
Friends abiding this form,yet also in another, outside of time, you and I.
I have been trying to read
the script cut in these hills-
a language carved in the shimmer of stubble
and the solid lines of soil, spoken
in the thud of apples falling
and the rasp of corn stalks finally bare.
The pheasants shout it with a rusty creak
as they gather in the fallen grain,
the blackbirds sing it
over their shoulders in parting,
and gold leaf illuminates the manuscript
where it is written in the trees.
Transcribed onto my human tongue
I believe it might sound like a lullaby,
or the simplest grace at table.
Across the gathering stillness
simply this: "For all that we have received,
dear God, make us truly grateful."