Saturday, September 20, 2014



Remember, you are entirely on your own.
You must realize first of all that you are the proof of everything, including yourself. 

None can prove your existence, because this existence must be confirmed by you first. 

Your being and knowing you owe nobody. 

You are entirely on your own.
You do not come from somewhere, you do not go anywhere.
You are timeless being and awareness.

–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


view with a grain of sand


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 and touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its.
For it it's no different than falling on anything else
with no assurance that it's finished falling
or that it's falling still.

The window has a wonderful view of a 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 nor 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.
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's invented, his haste is make-believe,
his news inhuman.

–Wislawa Szymborska
Stanislaw Baraniczak and Clara Cavanagh translation


needful things


By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. 

The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.

—Nikos Kazantzakis




Truth cannot be out there—cannot exist independently of the human
mind—because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there

The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.
Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. 

The world on its own—unaided by the describing activities of humans—

–Richard Rorty
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity





Ultimately, you are the proof that God exists, not the other way around. For before any question about God can be put, you must be there to put it.

–Nisargadatta Maharaj


Friday, September 19, 2014

natural laws


Just as man is composed of earth, water, air and fire, so this body of the earth is similar.
Whereas man has bones within himself, the supports and framework of the flesh, the world has rocks, the supports of the earth; if man has within himself the lake of blood, wherein the lungs expand and contract in breathing, the body of the earth has its ocean, which also expands and contracts every six hours with the breathing of the world; as from the said lake of blood arise the veins, which spread their branches through the human body; likewise the ocean fills the body of the earth with an infinite number of veins of water.
The same cause which moves the humorous in every species of animate bodies against the natural law of gravity also propels the water through the veins of the earth wherein it is enclosed, and distributes it through small passages.
And as the blood rises from below and pours out through the broken veins of the forehead, as the water rises from the lowest part of the vein to the branches that are cut, so from the lowest depth of the sea the water rises to the summits of the mountain, where, finding the veins broken, it pours out and returns to the bottom of the sea.

–Leonardo da Vinci, 1490


safe in their alabaster chambers


Safe in their alabaster chambers,
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadences, —
Ah, what sagacity perished here!

Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

–Emily Dickinson

Are You a Mere Picture?



Are you a mere picture, and not as true as those stars, true as
this dust? They throb with the pulse of things, but you are
immensely aloof in your stillness, painted form. 
The day was when you walked with me, your breath warm, your
limbs singing of life. My world found its speech in your voice, and
touched my heart with your face. You suddenly stopped in your walk,
in the shadow-side of the Forever, and I went on alone.

Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it
runs; it beckons me on, I follow the unseen; but you stand there,
where you stopped behind that dust and those stars; and you are a
mere picture.
No, it cannot be. Had the life-flood utterly stopped in you,
it would stop the river in its flow, and the foot-fall of dawn in
her cadence of colours. Had the glimmering dusk of your hair
vanished in the hopeless dark, the woodland shade of summer would
die with its dreams.
Can it be true that I forgot you? We haste on without heed, forgetting the flowers on the roadside hedge. Yet they breathe unaware into our forgetfulness, filling it with music. You have moved from my world, to take seat at the root of my life, and therefore is this forgetting-remembrance lost in its own depth.
You are no longer before my songs, but one with them. You came
to me with the first ray of dawn. I lost you with the last gold of
evening. Ever since I am always finding you through the dark. No,
you are no mere picture.

–Rabindranath Tagore
Lover’s Gifts XLII

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How can you best explain quantum mechanics in 5 words or less?

Don’t look : waves.
Look : particles.

(The answer to a challenge asked by Sean Carroll on Twitter,
originally posed by physicist John Wheeler.)


There is a lot to say about quantum mechanics, perhaps the most mysterious idea ever to be contemplated by human beings, but all we need is one simple (but hard to accept) fact: 

How the world appears when we look at it is very different from how it really is.

–Sean Carroll
 The Particle at the End of the Universe -
The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World


on dragons and princesses


We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage which is demanded of us: to have courage for the most extraordinary, the most singular, and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.
Only he or she who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most inigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will wholly expand his or her being.
For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down.
Thus, they have a certain security.
And yet that dangerous insecurity is so much more human than that which drives the prisoners in Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us.
Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.
And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses;
perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.

–Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to a Young Poet


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Message from Space


Everything that happens is the message:
you read an event and be one and wait,
like breasting a wave, all the while knowing
by living, though not knowing how to live.

Or workers built an antenna -- a dish
aimed at stars -- and they themselves are its message,
crawling in and out, being worlds that loom,
dot-dash, and sirens, and sustaining beams.

And sometimes no one is calling but we turn up
eye and ear -- suddenly we fall into
sound before it begins, the breathing
so still it waits there under the breath --

And then the green of leaves calls out, hills
where they wait or turn, clouds in their frenzied
stillness unfolding their careful words:
"Everything counts. The message is the world."

–William Stafford
The Way It Is


Tuesday, September 16, 2014



Just rest. 

Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
Just rest.
For your separation from God,
From love,

Is the hardest work
In this

Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to

You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your

Daniel Ladinsky translation


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, excerpt


We do not “come into” this world;
we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.
As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” 
Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. 
This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. 

Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.
You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.

You are not a stranger here.

—Alan Watts


you are


The body is not you, the name is not you.
The body is the food you have consumed;
the taste of the food is the knowledge ‘I am’.
That is Self, the feeling ‘I am’,
that is the love to be. 
How amazing, how incredible, it has no name, but you give many names to it.
It is the Self, the love to be.
That love to be is all pervading. 
Before you conceptualize anything, you are.
Even before the knowingness, you are.



God is a metaphor


God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought.

–Joseph Campbell 


the keeper of flocks, excerpt


What metaphysics do these trees have?

That of being green and having crowns and branches
And that of giving fruit at their hours,
– which is not what makes us think – us,
who don't know to be aware of them.

But what better metaphysics than theirs,
Which is not knowing why they live
And not knowing they don't know?

–Fernando Pessoa


Sunday, September 14, 2014




Sit and be still

until in the time
of no rain you hear

beneath the dry wind's
commotion in the trees

the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,

a stream unheard before,

and you are where
breathing is prayer.

–Wendell Berry


the snow man


One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

–Wallace Stevens




a single cell
found that it was full of light
and for the first time there was seeing

I was a bird
I could see where the stars had turned
and I set out on my journey

in the head of a mountain goat
I could see across a valley
under the shining trees something moving

in the green sea
I saw the two sides of the water
and swam between them

look at you
in the first light of the morning
for as long as I can

–W. S. Merwin


if time is not real


If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.

–Hermann Hesse


Description Without Place



In a description hollowed out of hollow-bright,
The artificer of subjects still half night.

It matters, because everything we say
Of the past is description without place, a cast

Of the imagination, made in sounds;
And because what we say of the future must portend,

Be alive with its own seemings, seeming to be
Like rubies reddened by rubies reddening.

–Wallace Stevens

closing lines to section V


Saturday, September 13, 2014

merrily, merrily


Atoms themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.
Werner Heisenberg


the moment


The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way around.

–Margaret Atwood


could have


It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.

You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck -- there was a forest.
You were in luck -- there were no trees.
You were in luck -- a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant . . .

So you're here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or
how your heart pounds inside me.

–Wislawa Szymborska


beware of the tiny gods



Some gods say, the tiny ones
"I am not here in your vibrant, moist lips

That need to beach themselves upon
The golden shore of a
Naked body."
Some gods say, "I am not
The sacred yearning in the unrequited soul;
I am not the blushing cheek
Of every star and Planet--

I am not the applauding Chef
Of those precious sections that can distill
The whole mind into a perfect wincing jewel, if only
For a moment
Nor do I reside in every pile of sweet warm dung
Born of earth's

Some gods say, the ones we need to hang,
"Your mouth is not designed to know His,
Love was not born to consume
The luminous

Dear ones,
Beware of the tiny gods frightened men
To bring an anesthetic relief
To their sad

Ladinsky tranlation


Vermeer, excerpt


The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us and whispers:
“I am not empty, I am open.”

—Tomas Tranströmer
Robert Bly translation


Friday, September 12, 2014

into my arms



Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.


what's in the temple? excerpt


If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.

–Tom Barrett




Believe nothing merely because you have been told it.
Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. 
But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, and conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take as your guide.