June 25, 2016

A guy I know was told by his doctor he had cancer and would die in a year. There he was, working at a job that was OK but not great, living in a place that was nice but not paradise, dating a woman he liked a lot but didn’t love. He was warming up, you know? The way most of us do.

So what did he do? He quit his job, sold everything, packed up, and moved to Key West, where he bought a boat, because he always wanted to sail around the Keys in a little boat in the sunshine, and he did.

After awhile, he went to see a doctor in Key West to see how much time time he had left. The doctor got the guy’s old records and ran new tests and then said the first doctor made a mistake: he’d never had cancer at all.

I think about that guy sometimes, sailing around the world on his little boat in the ocean, living his dream, all because he found out he was mortal.

~ Alison Clement

real relationships

April 24, 2016

“Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload.

Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution.

Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.

Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences.

For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.”

~ From the Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis

love your enemies

January 1, 2016

It comes, then, to this: that to be “viable,” livable, or merely practical, life must be lived as a game — and the “must” here expresses a condition, not a commandment. It must be lived in the spirit of play rather than work, and the conflicts which it involves must be carried on in the realization that no species, or party to a game, can survive without its natural antagonists, its beloved enemies, its indispensable opponents.

For to “love your enemies” is to love them as enemies; it is not necessarily a clever device for winning them over to your own side. The lion lies down with the lamb in paradise, but not on earth — “paradise” being the tacit, off-stage level where, behind the scenes, all conflicting parties recognize their interdependence, and, through this recognition, are able to keep their conflicts within bounds.

This recognition is the absolutely essential chivalry which must set the limits within all warfare, with human and non-human enemies alike, for chivalry is the debonair spirit of the knight who “plays with his life” in the knowledge that even mortal combat is a game.

No one who has been hoaxed into the belief that he is nothing but his ego, or nothing but his individual organism, can be chivalrous, let alone a civilized, sensitive, and intelligent member of the cosmos.

~ Alan Watts, (1966), The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

become the situation

December 30, 2015

When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself.

Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.

~ Roshi Bernie Glassman

life everlasting

December 15, 2015

Underneath the superficial self, which pays attention to this and that, there is another self, more really us than “I”.

And if you become aware of that unknown self, the more you become aware of it, the more you realize that it is inseparably connected with everything else that there is.

That, you are a function of this total galaxy, bounded by the Milky Way, and that futhermore this galaxy is a function of all other galaxies and that vast thing that you see far, far off with great telescopes.

You look and look, and one day you are going to wake up and say…

“Why, that’s me!”

And in knowing that, you know that you never die. You are the eternal thing that comes and goes that appears — now as John Jones, now as Mary Smith, now as Betty Brown — and so it goes, forever and ever and ever.

~ Alan Watts

now is the time

November 15, 2015

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

beyond reason

November 3, 2015

Men craving holiness
use words
to create images of their gods,
and confuse
their pride
in their own inventions.
The Taoist sage
shuns words
trusts silence,
knowing full well
the Tao is beyond the reach of concepts.

~ Jos Slabbert
(The Tao is Tao, 139)