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#2136 - Saturday, May 7, 2005 - Editor: Gloria    

“Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures knows no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life

Delude the one who sees its unity?”

Isha Upanishad


It is the Self who sees, hears, smells, touches,
And tastes, who thinks, acts, and is pure
The Self is Brahman, changeless and supreme.

Those who know the supreme Self as formless,
Without shadow, without impurity,
Know all, gentle friend, and live in all.
Those who know the Self, the seat of consciousness,
In whom the breath and all the senses live,
Know all, gentle friend, and live in all.

-Prashna Upanishad
Excerpted from The Upanishads, translated by Eknath Easwaran

from a translation of the Ashtavakra Gita   -----   By Dr. Thomas Byrom  

12    Fulfillment

First I gave up action,                                                                      1
Then idle words,
And lastly thought itself.

Now I am here.

Ridding my mind of distraction,                                                      2
I shut out sound and all the senses,
And I am here.

Meditation is needed                                                                       3
Only when the mind is distracted
By false imagining.

Knowing this,
I am here.

Without joy or sorrow,                                                                      4
Grasping nothing, spurning nothing,
O Master, I am here.

What do I care                                                                                  5
If I observe or neglect
The four stages of life?

Controlling the mind,
These are mere distractions!

Now I am here.

Doing, or not doing,                                                                            6
Both come from not knowing.

Knowing this fully,
I am here.

Thinking                                                                                              7
Of what is beyond thinking
Is still thinking.

I gave up thinking,
And I am here.

Whoever fulfills this                                                                             8
Fulfills his own nature
And is indeed fulfilled.


photo by Dave Mason  


Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

[172] 'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy!

By Emily Dickinson
(1830 - 1886)

'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I,
Have ventured all upon a throw!
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so –
This side the Victory!

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet!
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall!

And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!
Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!
At first, repeat it slow!
For Heaven is a different thing,
Conjectured, and waked sudden in –
And might extinguish me!

How can someone read this poem and not recognize that Emily Dickinson was a profound mystic (in contrast to the conventional idea that she was a morbid, heart-broken recluse)?

"'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy!" What an ecstatic exclamation! The words seem to barely come out in the overwhelm of the experience.

What is it that she is talking about when she asks alternately "If I should fail..." and "if I gain..."? She is refering to the exalted state of ineffable joy itself, the surprised recognition that she has entered the heavenly state. The joy mentioned at the beginning is also the heaven with which she closes the poem. This is what she has "gained" by venturing "all upon a throw." She is stunned by her success, she hesitates to believe it is even possible, since she humbly admits that she is "poor" and imperfect.

Failure, to her, would be to not remain in this state of ecstatic communion. But she strengthens her determination to attain "Victory" by recognizing that she has nothing else to pursue and nothing to avoid, nothing to desire or to fear. "Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!" Things are simply as they are and the mind need not project false judgments of 'good' and 'bad' on them, even on "Defeat." Just to have gotten as far as she has, even if she ultimately "fails," she has tasted that ethereal sweetness. So why fear failure?

"For Heaven is a different thing, / Conjectured, and waked suddenly in -- " With those lines, she is, in her quiet way, declaring that she is directly experiencing heaven in that moment and not indulging in mere imagination. She proclaims that heaven is a very different experience than what is "conjectured" or commonly imagined once you actually awaken into it. The authority of these lines is unmistakable.

The final line, that the joy of heaven "might extinguish me," could just as well have been written by Rumi or St. John of the Cross. And, of course, that is the way to final "Victory": By releasing the little self, the ego, into that rising joy, the true Self, the divine self, is born.




Stand firm in That Which You Are

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?

In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a sold place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: Just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.


posted by John to MillionPaths


  The matter of life and death is important; impermanence is swift. Aspirants to Zen all understand the path, but when you ask them why we live and why we die, ten out of ten are dumbstruck. If you do on this way, even if you journey throughout the whole world, what will it accomplish?

From "Teachings of Zen," edited by Thomas Cleary

  "What was it in the wilderness that gave peace and joy? What was it that
came to us in the forest, the solitude? In either case it was nothing
else but the depth of our own life, which is silent like the depths of
the great sea, so silent and still...

...It is the surface of the sea that makes waves and roaring breakers;
the depth is silent. So the depth of our own being is silent also. And
this all-pervading, unbroken, inseparable, unlimited, ever-present,
omnipotent silence unites with our silence like the meeting of flames."

~Hazrat Inayat Khan

From the dgsangha web page, "Silence."


             There are mothers
            for everything, and the sea
            is a mother too,
            whispering and whispering to us
            long after we have stopped listening.
            I stopped and let myself lean
            a moment, against the blue
            shoulder of the air. The work
            of my heart
            is the work of the world's heart.
            There is no other art.  

          ~ Alison Luterman ~


posted by Joe Riley to Panhala

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