that art thou

May 27, 2023

Eternal bliss without having anyone to share it with is hell. Private pleasure without love is meaningless, so the World was created out of that primordial loneliness. The One made us because it was “not good to be alone.” (Or rather, it is not good to drink alone!) The One is always singular, always apart, always solitary. The eternal stirring to plurality in Oneness is the striving to sacrificial love because mere pleasure offers no meaning. Here One is already Two, and Two relate together as Three. Love requires Oneness split into a plurality that must be overcome as a new kind of unity. The suffering God made friends to tell each other what God also needs to hear: you are not alone. When we alleviate the suffering of other human beings, it is the suffering of God (and ultimately our own suffering) we heal. Private pleasure pursued for its own sake brings neither happiness to oneself nor meaning to others. As such, the two greatest commandments — to love your neighbor as yourself and to love God with all your heart — are one and the same. To see our truer self in the panoply of responses we evoke in others: THAT — not how you feel — ART THOU. Everything is perishing except for His face.

~ Silo McGundy

flame out

October 23, 2022

The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had…of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way–a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word ‘beat’ spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America–beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction…

~ Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922 — October 21, 1969)

beyond time

September 6, 2022

The politics of those whose goal is beyond time are always pacific.

– Aldous Huxley, from The Perennial Philosophy

sky full of words

August 28, 2022

We jump always to the conclusions of stories, of lives. It’s a habit, I think. Jump to the end to see how the health and the finances and the reputation bore the burdens. There is joy on every journey, within every life. I choose to remember the joy of [my friend] Truman, the sense of glee as he threw words around so easily and beautifully, confetti with punctuation and the wistfulness of the lost and sweet boy always, like me, on the side, looking on and taking notes. We all end up on bad roads, those blind alleys I’m always talking about. Remember the moments in the sun, the sky full of words.

~ Tennessee William, during an interview about Truman Capote

“…whatever the particulars of your discoveries may be, eventually you will clarify for yourself how, like all humans, you have ascribed fixed and permanent qualities to a ‘self’ that can neither be located and grasped, nor described.”

~ Peter Coyote

the truth of life

June 28, 2022

The goal of the spiritual path is simple. It is to awaken out of the illusory world of the thinking human mind into the truth and reality of life lived in the present moment. The world of the mind is a world of the remembered past and imagined future. It is a world of illusion and yet almost every one on this planet believes this illusory world to be the truth of life. The simple truth is that there is no life outside of the present moment. It is impossible to live life outside of the present moment. We must come to terms with this simple truth.

I do not mean to imply that life at the level of mind should cease. That is not possible, nor desirable. What is possible however is that we become so awake and deeply grounded in the present moment and the awakened state of Being that we never lose our connection with the truth of life, even when we do venture into the world of the mind. In other words, we no longer believe in our thoughts, memories, ideas, beliefs and opinions as the truth. We know that only this moment is the truth and everything else is a kind of play within time.

~ Leonard Jacobson

letting go

May 22, 2022

When the suffering comes down the pike, you don’t turn away from it, because you know the only reason you’re suffering is to show you the clinging of your own mind.

It’s being offered to you as a gift.

~ Ram Dass

life eternal

November 28, 2021

I asked the leaf whether it was afraid to fall, since it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was very alive. I worked hard and helped nourish the tree, and much of me is in the tree. Please do not think that I am just this form, because this leaf form is only a tiny part of me. I am the whole tree. I know that I am already inside the tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. That is why I do not worry. As I drop from the branch and float down to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’”

Suddenly I had a kind of insight very much like the insight contained in the Heart Sutra. You have to see life. You shouldn’t say, life of the leaf, but life in the leaf, and life in the tree. My life is just Life, and you can see it in me and in the tree. I saw the leaf leave the branch and float down to the soil, dancing joyfully, because as it floated it saw itself already there in the tree. It was so happy. I bowed my head, and I knew that we have a lot to learn from the leaf because it was not afraid; it knew that nothing can be born and nothing can die.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

fearless presence

October 14, 2021

Fearlessness is what love seeks.

Such fearlessness exists only in the complete calm that can no longer be shaken by events expected of the future.

Hence the only valid tense is the present, the Now.

~ Hannah Arendt

eternal life

September 19, 2021

The secret is that “other” eventually turns out to be you. I mean, that’s the element of surprise in life: when suddenly you find the thing most alien. We say now: what is most alien to us?

Go out at night and look at the stars, and realize that they are millions and millions and billions of miles away. Vast conflagrations out in space. And you can lie back and look at that. Whew! Say, “Well! Surely I hardly matter. I’m just a tiny, tiny little peekaboo on this weird spot of dust called Earth. And all that going on out there. Billions of years before I was born. Billions of years after I will die.”

And nothing seems stranger to you than that, more different from you. But there comes a point (if you watch long enough) when you’ll say, “Why, that’s me!” It’s the “other” that is the condition of your being yourself, as the back is the condition of being the front. And when you know that, you know you never die.

~ Alan Watts