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#2679 - Sunday, December 24, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nondual Highlights    

An Old Man Performs Alchemy on His Doorstep at Christmastime

Cream of Tartar, commonly used to lift meringue and
angel food cake, is actually made from crystallized fine wine.

After they stopped singing for him,
the carolers became transparent in the dark,
and he stepped into their emptiness to say
he lost his wife last week, please
sing again. Their voices filled with gold.
Last week, his fedora nodded hello to me
on the sidewalk, and the fragile breath
of kindness that passed between us
made something sweet of a morning
that had frightened me for no earthly reason.
Surely, you know this by another name:
the mysteries we intake, exhale, could be
sitting on our shelves, left on the bus seat
beside us. Don't wash your hands.
You fingered them at the supermarket,
gave them to the cashier; intoxicated tonight,
she'll sing in the streets. Think of the old man.
Who knew he kept the secret of levitation,
transference, and lightness filling a winter night?
— an effortless, crystalline powder
That could almost seem transfigured from loss.
    --Anna George Meek, from Acts of Contortion  


(Frank) Zappa once said that he first fell in love with music as a kid
after he had a kind of religious experience at his grandmother's
funeral. He said, "The choir was singing, and I could see from the
way that the candle flames were wavering that they were
responding to the sound waves coming from the choir. That was when
I realized that sound, music, had a physical presence and that it
could move the air around. ... [I realized that] music is, literally, a
recipe for sculpted air."


A Psalm

By Thomas Merton

When psalms surprise me with their music
And antiphons turn to rum
The Spirit sings: the bottom drops out of my soul.

And from the center of my cellar, Love, louder than thunder
Opens a heaven of naked air.

New eyes awaken.
I send Love's name into the world with wings
And songs grow up around me like a jungle.
Choirs of all creatures sing the tunes
Your Spirit played in Eden.
Zebras and antelopes and birds of paradise
Shine on the face of the abyss
And I am drunk with the great wilderness
Of the sixth day in Genesis.

But sound is never half so fair
As when that music turns to air
And the universe dies of excellence.

Sun, moon and stars
Fall from their heavenly towers.
Joys walk no longer down the blue world's shore.

Though fires loiter, lights still fly on the air of the gulf,
All fear another wind, another thunder:
Then one more voice
Snuffs all their flares in one gust.

And I go forth with no more wine and no more stars
And no more buds and no more Eden
And no more animals and no more sea:

While God sings by himself in acres of night
And walls fall down, that guarded Paradise.

--from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton


    The degree of love we manifest determines the degree of spaciousness
and freedom we can bring to lifes events. Imagine taking a very small glass
or water and putting into it a teaspoon of salt. Because of the small size
of the container, the teaspoon of salt is going to have a big effect on the
water. However, if you approach a much larger body of water, such as a
lake, and put into it the same teaspoonful of salt, it will not have the same
intensity of impact, because of the vastness and openness of the vessel
receiving it. Even when the salt remains the same, the spaciousness of the
vessel receiving it changes everything.

We spend a lot of our lives looking for a feeling of safety or
protection--we try to alter the amount of salt that comes our way.
Ironically, the salt is the very thing that we cannot do anything about, as
life changes and offers us repeated ups and downs. Our true work is to
create a container so immense that any amount of salt, even a truckload,
can come into it without affecting our capacity to receive it.

--Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
from Everyday Mind

    "Are you looking for me?"  

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables,
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

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


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