Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Quiet Mind ..2010

A Quiet Mind

Listening to a bell ringing at dusk, one finds that the quietness outside is also inside. Sunrise and sunset are the quietest moments of the day. In those few moments, all things seem attentive to the day as it rises and as it closes. The same rhythm is reflected internally. There are few times when the mind is quiet. As one wakes in bed, for one or two moments, the mind has nothing to say, and again as one goes to sleep, there is a fleeting moment when the mind is quiet and reposed. For these few moments, one's mind is clear.

Otherwise, one's mind is an experience of contradictions. The many I's of thought, perception and emotion that arise from the human functions are not intended to oppose each other, but cannot peaceably share the same space. The I's cannot be unified, much like warring chieftains who claim the same cultural history but have no form of government. Without presence, the I's control one's psychology. One's thinking becomes unfocused, accidental, or determined by external events. One becomes happy or sad because the I's anticipate an external event, which then never happens.

Yet the mind can rise above the noisy arena of the I's and pass into 'a purer mind with tranquil restoration'. But this facility does not come by itself. It comes from raising one's awareness, from paying attention to the small moments of one's day. With a receptive mind, one listens to music, a conversation, incidental sounds, and a state grows that has no opinion or preference, but just quietly is. By listening, one finds silence. One becomes a still calm point in a turning universe. One hears the still small voice of God.

Many thanks to Maria Angelica Sassone

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Counting Crows - A Long December

This makes just about as much sense and anything else.
Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rumi Frog

A Year With Rumi by Coleman Barks

A Mouse and a Frog

A mouse and a frog meet every morning on the riverbank.
They sit in a nook of the ground and talk.

Each morning, the second they see each other,
they open easily, telling stories and dreams and secrets,
empty of any fear or suspicious holding-back.

To watch and listen to those two
is to understand how, as it is written,
sometimes when two beings come together,
Christ becomes visible.

The mouse starts laughing out a story he hasn't thought of in five years, and the telling might take five years.

There is no blocking the speechflow-river-running-
all-carrying momentum that true intimacy is.

Bitterness doesn't have a chance with those two.
The God-messenger Khidr touches a roasted fish.
It leaps off the grill back into the water.

Friend sits by Friend, and the tablets appear.
They read the mysteries off each other's foreheads.

But one day the mouse complains, There are times
when I want sohbet, and you're out in the water,
jumping around where you can't hear me.

We meet at this appointed time,
but the text says, Lovers pray constantly.

Once a day, once a week, fives times an hour,
is not enough. Fish like we are
need the ocean around us.

Do camel bells say, Let's meet back here Thursday night?
Ridiculous. They jingle
together continuously,
talking while the camel walks.

Do you pay regular visits to yourself?
Don't argue or answer rationally.

Let us die,
and dying, reply.

* This is the night Rumi died, in 1273.

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Friday, December 11, 2009


The time has come...

the time has come
to break all my promises
tear apart all chains
and cast away all advice

disassemble the heavens
link by link
and break at once
all lovers' ties
with the sword of death

put cotton inside
both my ears
and close them to
all words of wisdom

crash the door and
enter the chamber
where all sweet
things are hidden

how long can i
beg and bargain
for the things of this world
while love is waiting

how long before
i can rise beyond
how i am and
what i am

Ghazal 1591 Translated by Nader Khalili

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You think the shadow is the substance ~ Rumi

Awkward Comparison

This physical world has no two things alike.
Every comparison is awkwardly rough.

You can put a lion next to a man,
but the placing is hazardous to both.

Say the body is like this lamp.
It has to have a wick and oil, sleep and food.
If it doesn't get those, it will die,
and it is always burning those up, trying to die.

But where is the sun in this comparison?
It rises, and the lamp's light
mixes with the day.

Oneness, which is the true reality,
cannot be understood with lamp and sun images,
and the blurring of a plural into a unity is wrong.

No image can describe
what of our fathers and mothers,
our grandfathers and grandmothers, remains.

Language does not touch
the one who lives in both of us.

A Year With Rumi by Coleman Barks