Friday, February 12, 2016

Paul Tillich - The ultimate Ground of Being

"The wisdom of all ages and of all continents
speaks about the road to our depth."  
"It has been described in innumerably different ways.
But all those who have been concerned -
mystics and priests, poets and philosophers,
simple people and educated -
with that road through confession, lonely self-scrutiny,
internal or external catastrophes, prayer, contemplation,
have witnessed to the same experience.
They have found they are not what what they  believed themselves to be,
even after a deeper level had appeared to them below the vanishing surface.
That deeper level itself became surface,
when a still deeper level was discovered,
this happening again and again, as long as their lives,
as long as they kept on the road to their depth."

"The name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being," "is God.
That depth is what the word God means. . . .
For if you know that God means depth, you know much about him.
You cannot then call yourself an atheist or an unbeliever.
For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow.
If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist;
but otherwise you are not.
He who knows about depth knows about God."

[Paul Tillich, "The Shaking of the Foundations"


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Frederick Franck - What my eyes saw on the way

In the silence of drawing
hidden, yet visible, in each face
I see the Face of faces,
that the plural of man
does not exist,
is our cruelest hallucination –
see that our Oneness is infinite differentiation,
that the pattern of the universe
and mine
are not-two,
that what lives in me
is the Tao
in which all lives.


Having become
all these faces, all these bodies,
a meadow, a flower,
a night moth and a cow,


– Frederick Franck, The Awakened Eye

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Valery Larbaud - The gift of oneself

 I offer myself to each as his reward;
here it is, even before you deserved it.
there is something in me,
in the deepest part of me, at the center of me,
something infinitely barren
like the tops of the highest mountains;
something comparable to the blind spot in the retina,
and with no echo,
and yet which sees and hears;
a being with a life of it's own, which nonetheless
lives my whole life, and listens, impassive,
to all the chitchat of my consciousness.

a being made of nothing, if that's possible,
insensitive to my physical suffering,
that doesn't weep when i weep,
that doesn't laugh when i laugh,
that doesn't blush when i do something shameful,
and that doesn't moan when my heart is aching;
that doesn't make a move and gives no advice,
but seems to say eternally: "i'm here, indifferent to everything."

maybe it is as empty as emptiness is,
but so big that good and evil together do not fill it.
where hatred dies of suffocation and the greatest love never penetrates.

so take all of me: the meaning of these poems,
not what can be read, but what comes across in spite of me:
take, take, you have nothing.
wherever i go, in the whole world,
i always meet,
around me as in me,
the unfillable void,
the unconquerable nothing.

— " the gift of oneself" by valery larbaud
translated from the french by ron padgett & bill zavatsky
for the random house book of twentieth century french poetry

source text here

see the original text in French here

Sri Aurobindo – The Dual Being

Gandaberunda seen at Balligavi, Shimoga district, Karnataka. The Gandaberunda or The Mighty Two-headed Bird was an incarnation of Vishnu assumed to fight another incarnation of the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva. Gandaberunda took on Shiva's incarnation, a half lion, half bird called Sharabha and defeated it. It is also the state emblem of Karnataka in India and is said to possess magical powers.

There are two beings in my single self.
A Godhead watches Nature from behind
At play in front with a brilliant surface elf,
A time-born creature with a human mind.
Tranquil and boundless like a sea or sky,
The Godhead knows himself Eternity’s son.
Radiant his mind and vast, his heart as free;
His will is a sceptre of dominion.
The smaller self by Nature’s passions driven,
Thoughtful and erring learns his human task;
All must be known and to that Greatness given
His mind and life, the mirror and the mask.
As with the figure of a symbol dance
The screened Omniscient plays at Ignorance.

— Sri Aurobindo – The Dual Being – Sonnets 1930-1950 – Collected Poems – p. 152

T.S. Eliot - For the first time

We shall not cease from exploration  
And the end of all our exploring  
Will be to arrive where we started  
And know the place for the first time.

— T.S. Eliot – “Little Gidding” (the last of his Four Quartets)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rumi - Here is my dilemma

Here is my dilemma.
Please help me understand.
Your Love is a healer,
your Love is a wise master,
your Love is radiant,
your Love is delicate and
is soft in its essence.

I would gladly endure all this fire,
all this yearning,
all this burning,
for your Love.

But if your Love is so pleasant,
why does it hurt so much?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bob O’Hearn - Rain on the Mountain, Bubbles on a Stream

Falling rain, each drop a momentary ocean,
filled with the mysterious essence
of eternal potentiality –

these days, at the first sign of light sprinkles,
most people fling open their umbrellas
and scurry for some dry shelter.

I want to get totally soaked!

I want to stand naked,
mouth open wide to the sky,
deliciously bathed in cool water.

Who will drink with me?

Stumbling through the triple worlds,
I’ve encountered mostly sleepwalkers
hovering daintily over dreamy gardens,
planting colored flowers in the air.

For far too long I bided my time
in the red dust towns, lingering lazily
in the stagnant back-waters of borrowed
knowledge, speculation, and belief.

I only daydreamed of those legendary hearts
who climbed to the sky, exhaled the stars –
have they left no footprint behind?

From the viewpoint of that primordial space
where clouds of galaxies appear and vanish,
one traceless stream of seamless light
arches unaccountably through
a vast emptiness.

A luminous arrow launched before memory,
no longer even seeking a target, circles higher
around this storm-soaked mountain
whose tallest peak is a tiny speck,
afloat in a moistened ecstasy
of softly raining bliss.

One second here stretches on forever –
in this spray of silent light, nothing
rises up to be known or owned.

Heart-struck, astonished,
I wander now on a rocky path
that won’t be found on any map.

Opening my eyes, suddenly seeing,
I know again, as if for the first time:

I am alive!

Tonight, I’ll dream in wordless poems
of bubbles floating effortlessly, wedded
with some cool clear current in a coincidence
of mindless motion, sifting through huddled masses
of bleached boulders, riding wild white rapids,
brushing along smoothed canyon walls, then
pausing in calm pools of rippling peace,
forgetful of any intention, destination,
or even any no-destination –

a brief small nothing adrift on nameless water,
aimlessly reflecting the shine of infinity,
vanishing in the blink of an eye,
appearing again as . . .


Jean-Guihen Queyras - JS Bach - Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009

Hildegard of Bingen - O ignis Spiritus Paracliti

art: All Beings Celebrate Creation by Hildegard

Oh fire of the Holy Spirit,

life of the life of every creature,

holy are you in giving life to forms…

Oh boldest path,

penetrating into all places,

in the heights, on earth,

and in every abyss,

you bring and bind all together

From you clouds flow, air flies,

Rocks have their humours,

Rivers spring forth from the waters

And earth wears her green vigour

O ignis Spiritus Paracliti