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#2045 - Monday, January 31, 2005 - Editor: Gloria
No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.
All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
round every living thing.
What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
What we strive for
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
and then nourishes
What we hate
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.
Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.
All those years
listening to those
nothing to say.
All those years
has its own voice
All those years
you can belong
simply by listening.
And the slow
is born from
Silence and winter
has led me to that
So let this winter
for the new life
I must call my own.
~ David Whyte ~ (The House of Belonging)
Web version: www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Winter_of_Listening.html
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Just as a reservoir is of little use when the whole countryside is flooded, scriptures are of little use to the illumined man or woman who sees the Lord everywhere.
-Bhagavad Gita 2:46
Translated by Eknath Easwaran, copyright 1985. To order the book, call 1-800-475-2369.
"You need to
train yourself so that at any time and any
moment you choose, you can free yourself inwardly from
your world, from others, from the past, from the future,
from the previous thought and the next thought. This is to
find freedom. Yet if you then think you are free and have
some wisdom, this is not so. You should not be attached
to solitude or to experiences of relative freedom. When
you are neither attached to independence nor to company
then wisdom will manifest."
~Chan Master Sheng-Yen from Allspirit Inspiration
PARADOX AND CONFUSION
"If you visit a Buddhist temple in Japan you'll
likely encounter two gigantic, fierce, demonlike
figures standing at either side of the entrance.
These are called the guardians of truth, and
their names are Paradox and Confusion.
"When I first encountered these figures, it had
never occurred to me that the Truth had guards -
or indeed, that it needed guarding. But if the
notion had arisen in my mind, I suspect I would
have pictured very pleasing, angelic figures.
"Why were these creatures so terrifying and
menacing? And why were the guardians of Truth
represented rather than Truth itself?
"Gradually, I began to see the implication. There
can be no image of Truth. Truth can't be captured
in an image or a phrase or a word. It can't be
laid out in a theory, a diagram, or a book.
Whatever notions we might have about Truth are
incapable of bringing us to it. Thus, in trying
to take hold of Truth, we naturally encounter
paradox and confusion.
"Our problem with paradox and confusion is that
we insist on putting our direct experience into a
conceptual box. We try to encapsulate our
experience in frozen, changeless form: 'this
"Ordinary statements don't permit paradox.
Rather, they try to pin down their subjects and
make them appear as real and solid as possible.
Ordinary statements are presented in the spirit
of 'This is the Truth; believe it.' Then we're
handed something, often in the form of a book or
"But all statements that present themselves in
this way - whether they're about politics,
morality, economics, psychology, religion,
science or auto mechanics - are just ordinary
stuff. They're not the Truth; they're merely the
attempt to preserve what necessarily passes
From the book, "Buddhism Is Not What You Think,"
by Steve Hagen, published by Harper Collins
posted to Daily Dharma by Sherab
In The Words of James Hillman
The following quotations come from several of his books.
Today we need heroes of
descent, not masters of denial, mentors of maturity who can carry
sadness, who give love to aging, who show soul without irony or
Instead of adventuring
forward to explore and research unknown territory, control fights
a rearguard action, keeping inventory of what has already
happened. It likes complete reports. Control, for all its
self-assured position of command, relies on a defensive vision,
and the traits enumerated--enforced loyalty, exactitude,
suspicion of the hidden, watchfulness--are paranoid traits.
In any system, whether a
corporation, a family or the inner arrangements of the human
psyche, a vigorous "no" to the good of the whole may
serve the good of the whole and increase its power even more than
a complaint "yes."
Besides policing weapons,
we might search for methods of teaching that capture attention
and evoke concentration--images, dramas, rituals,
rhythms--thereby transferring power back from the weapon to the
The lead horse does not
run because it is whipped.
Absolutism is not a
ruthless ruler, but a ruthless rule--and this we don't easily
remember, for our minds fix upon the figures of czars and crime
lords. These images serve to keep the danger of tyranny projected
onto Stalin, Genghis Khan and Al Capone, protecting us from the
absolutism that can rule the psyche in the guise of
fundamentalism in religion, bottom-lineism in business and
progress in the sciences.
Purists are deadly, and so
they know all about deadly sins.
Something always has you
"Well, what can I do about the world? This thing's bigger than me." That's the child archetype talking. "All I can do is go into myself, work on my growth, my development, find good parenting, support groups." This is a disaster for our political world, for our democracy. Democracy depends on intensely active citizens, not children.
The ideal of growth makes
us feel stunted; the ideal family makes us feel crazy.
We're not allowed in the
street. We have to be careful, pretty correct, not extreme or
radical, and not mix it up with our clients and patients out in
the world. And this slants our thinking toward white,
You can move to nirvana,
but the Gods find out where you go.
Is there a reality that is
not framed or formed? No. Reality is always coming through a pair
of glasses, a point of view, a language--a fantasy.
I won't accept these
simple opposites--either individual self in control or a
totalitarian, mindless mob. This kind of fantasy keeps us afraid
of community. It locks us up inside our separate selves all alone
and longing for connection. In fact, the idea of surrendering to
the fascist mob is the result of the separated self. It's the old
Apollonian ego, aloof and clear, panicked by the Dionysian flow.
Sometimes, the genius
seems to show only in symptoms and disorders, as a kind of
preventive medicine, holding you back from a false route.
Picasso said, "I
don't develop; I am." And the puzzle in therapy is not how
did I get this way, but what does my angel want with me?
Let's call them
"troubles." Can you imagine a blues singer going on
psychotherapy's cool green consulting rooms, the soothing images
and framed diplomas, because they are calming and cooling the
valuable madness in our society so that psychology has become
part of Henry Miller's Air-Conditioned Nightmare, his
phrase for the U.S.A.
Mediocrity is no answer to
violence. In fact, it probably invites violence. At least the
mediocre and the violent appear together as in the old Western
movies--the ruffian outlaw band shooting up main street and the
little white church with the little white schoolteacher wringing
her hands. To cool violence you need rhythm, humor, tempering;
you need dance and rhetoric. Not therapeutic understanding.
If therapy imagines its
task to be that of helping people cope (and not protest), to
adapt (and not rebel), to normalize their oddity, and to accept
themselves "and work within your situation; make it work for
you" (rather than refuse the unacceptable), then therapy is
collaborating with what the state wants: docile plebes. Coping
simply equals compliance.
Now when therapy decides
to cure the pathology, instead of seeing that the pathology is
part of the crack or the broken window, and that something is
trying to get in, then it seems to me it's creating more
pathology and keeping the Gods even further away. And then they
break in through the whole fucking society.
The sexual fascination is
the soul trying to get out and get into something other than
If we could recover the imaginal we must first recover its organ, the heart, and its kind of philosophy.
The heart in the beast is
not your heart only: it is a microcosmic sun, a cosmos of all
possible experiences that no one can own.
The transfiguration of
matter occurs through wonder.
is not in Egypt; it is anywhere once we desert the heart.
because of its breakdown, is entering a new moment of
consciousness: by drawing attention to itself by means of its
symptoms, it is becoming aware of itself as a psychic reality.
imagine the anima mundi [world soul] neither above the
world encircling it as a divine and remote emanation of spirit, a
world of powers, archetypes, and principles transcendent to
things, nor within the material world as its unifying panpsychic
life-principle. Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as
that particular soul-spark, that seminal image, which offers
itself through each thing in its visible form.
sitting in his chair all day long is more aware of the faintest
flickers of arousal in the seat of his sexuality than of the
massive discomfort in the same seat brought by the chair: its
wrongly built back, its heat-retaining fabric, its resistant
upholstery and formaldehyde glue. His animal sense has been
trained to notice only one set of proprioceptions to the
exclusion of the psychic reality of the chair. A cat knows
that the soul is also in the world may awaken us from the
psychotherapeutic trance in which we pay a hundred dollars for an
hour of subjectivism and no more than $19.95 for a beach chair in
whose cold metallic arms and plastic lap reflection actually
takes place, day after day.
By accepting the idea that I am the effect of a subtle buffeting between hereditary and societal forces, I reduce myself to a result. The more my life is accounted for by what already occurred in my chromosomes, by what my parents did or didn't do, and by my early years now long past, the more my biography is the story of a victim.
person enters the world called.
So long as
the statistics of normalizing developmental psychology determine
the standards against which the extraordinary complexities of a
life are judged, deviations become deviants.
after all, something quite beautiful about a life. But you would
not think so from reading psychology books.
beauty neglects the Goddess, who then has to steal back into the
departments as sexual harassment, into the laboratories as
"research" experiments with sex and gender, and into
the consulting rooms as seductive assignations.
has no self-help manual for its own affliction.
civilization subsides into its own waste deposits, it doesn't
matter whether you are feminine or masculine or any composite of
them. We all dissolve together.
To plant a
foot firmly on earth--that is the ultimate achievement, and a far
later stage of growth than anything begun in your head.
Editors Note: Much as it may seem that violating copyright is our favorite hobby, stealing an entire published interview seemed a bit much to me. So I'm betting if you start reading it, you will want to finish.
Character and Calling:
An Interview with James Hillman
James Hillman has been described variously as a maverick psychologist, a visionary, a crank, an old wizard, and a latter-day philosopher king. Poet Robert Bly once called him "the most lively and original psychologist we've had in America since William James."
This interview was adapted from the radio series Insight & Outlook, hosted by Scott London. An expanded version appeared in the March 1998 issue of The Sun magazine.
Copyright by Scott London. All rights reserved.
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