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#3059 - Monday, January 28, 2008 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

Cease practice based
On intellectual understanding,
Pursuing words and
Following after speech.
Learn the backward
Step that turns
Your light inward
To illuminate within.
Body and mind of themselves
Will drop away
And your original face will be manifest.
- Dogen (1200-1253)    

  Love flows from God into man,
  Like a bird
  Who rivers the air
  Without moving her wings.
  Thus we move in His world
  One in body and soul,
  Though outwardly separate in form.
  As the Source strikes the note,
  Humanity sings-
  The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
  And all the strings
  Which are touched in Love
  Must sound.    
- Mechthild of Magdeburg [c.1210?-c.1282]
  trans. by Jane Hirshfield

A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not fall in air.
In the fire of creation,
Gold doesn't vanish: the fire brightens.
Each creature God made
Must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my nature,
That lives for oneness with God?

- Mechthild of Magdeburg [c.1210?-c.1282]    

  Anthony de Mello

It was lecture time and the Master said,
"The genius of a composer is found in the notes of
his music - but analyzing the notes will not
reveal his genius.  The poet's greatness is
contained in his words - yet the study of his
words will not disclose his inspiration. 
God reveals himself in creation - but scrutinize
creation as minutely as you wish, you will not
find God, any more than you will find the soul
through the careful examination of your body."

At question time someone asked, "How then shall we find God?"

"By looking at creation, not by analyzing it."

"And how is one to look?"

"A peasant sets out to find beauty in the sunset,
but all he finds is sun and cloud and sky and
earth's horizon - till he understands that beauty
is not a 'thing' but a special way of looking.
You will seek for God in vain till you
understand that God can't be seen as 'thing';
he needs a special way of looking - similar to
that of little children whose sight is undistorted
by prefabricated doctrines and beliefs."

- Anthony de Mello, S.J.    

Look -- I do nothing; He performs all deeds,
and He endures the pain when my heart bleeds.
When He draws near and grants you an audience
should you hang back in tongue-tied diffidence?
When will your cautious heart consent to go
beyond the homely boundaries you know?
O you, if He should show His love to you,
love which His deeds perpetually renew
you will be nothing, you will disappear.
Leave all to Him who acts, and have no fear.
If there is any "you", if any wraith
of self persists, you've strayed outside our faith.

The Conference of the Birds.
Farid ud - Din Attar.

A Blessing for Equilibrium

By John O'Donohue
(1954 - 2008)

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

-- from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O'Donohue    

"A few weeks ago we lost the wonderful Irish poet and philosopher, John O'Donohue. I thought we should honor his passing with one of his blessing poems."   [John O'Donohue passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep in the night of January 3, 2008. He was 52 years old.]    "From it's beginning, I have given the Poetry Chaikhana web site the tagline "Sacred Poetry from Around the World." I am regularly reminded that the Poetry Chaikhana community is also from around the world -- but I don't share that enough with everyone else. In just the last month , the Poetry Chaikhana has had visits from 131 different countries and territories. We make up quite a community, don't we? Through the Poetry Chaikhana, we are all connected to every part of this planet we share.

The next time a poem touches that warm ember deep in your chest, and your thoughts stop, and your mind clears, and a quiet smile spreads across your face... reach out and feel who else on this planet is feeling exactly the same thing. Could be someone who wears different clothes or different colored skin, someone who speaks with a different accent or an entirely different language, someone who sits or kneels or bows to worship. Reach out and recognize that person as a brother or sister who, like us all, is walking through the human journey, pausing occasionally to sing songs of the Divine."


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