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Posts tagged ‘nondualism’

A Little Yoga Wisdom

“When the heart is full, tongue is silent; when the mind is still, intuition functions; when the passions are quelled, devotion dawns; when the senses are controlled, soul force is obtained; when the intellect is silent God speaks; when the ‘I’ dies, ‘He’ shines as Radiant Reality”

Swami Sivananda

Unshakeable Peace

i have been to it
that place without
that holds everything evenly
perfectly balanced
on no one side

i have felt
complete and clear
the best of naivete and wisdom
at once

i know that the path
to peace is inward
it is traveling to a place
on a road thousands have taken
before you

it is a place
one does not arrive at
one is revealed unto it
without effort
without any thing at all

Images from a hill

the nature of what is

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Along our walk, a moment.


I painted a lovely little piece of Frida Kahlo this month.  I painted her like an icon, gold frame around her…on a gessoed wood panel.  I learned a lot of from working on this piece.  I was pleased even.  My teacher hung our work up on the hall outside our classroom.  One day later, Frida went missing.  Stolen.

I’m not too devastated.  Bummed I didn’t get a photograph of the work.  Flattered that someone liked it enough to take it.  Wish I had gotten paid for it…that would have been cool.  “Hey I like your art work, can I buy it?”  That would have been really cool. Alas.

What’s mine is theirs now, I guess.  With a bit of karma attached.

biding time

Today at work a kid told me I had a “rod stuck up my a**.” I hate to be that crude, but it’s the language of the population I work with.  What I did to elicit this lovely comment was ask this kid to vacuum a rug. I know, I know…I was unreasonable. Today I’m believing I may not be cut out for this job.

I love the kids and really want the best for them.  Sadly most of them aren’t ready for rehab.  Most don’t believe they have a problem to begin with, they’re just biding time, hoping to get off probation.  I know how that is.  I’ve “bided time” myself..waiting as it were for time to merely pass. I hate to say it.

Sometimes action that seems to hard to hard too take makes us wait.  We wait for others to choose for us..wait for things to change, wait for choices to be made for us so we don’t have to feel responsible.  We…I..I have done this.

Sometimes habit has me waiting when I should be acting.  Sometimes there’s no point to that waiting, none at all, but I do it anyway..practiced and skilled as I am at it. Often I have conversations with myself, more often than is probably good to admit, and I have to remind myself that there is no other time than now.  I have come to cringe at the phrase “killing time.”  It pains me these days to waste good time.  It’s why I usually have a good book or a knitting project at hand, or my camera and sketch book with me.  Even with nothing tangible to measure my time with, I will appreciate the quiet.  I need the quiet.

Which is why today I reflected on whether or not I can do this job.  It is hard these days to clear my mind of the language and chaos of my work. Not too long ago I had to remind myself that the people in life don’t cuss at each other regularly.  It just doesn’t happen.  Some days the language lingers and plays over and over in my mind and the quiet is hard to hold.  I need that peace.  Today I found myself agitated and angry.  I have been sick for a long while, frustrated at my lack of wellness and wondered if this job is taking a larger toll than I have believed.

This week I will practice finding that quiet.

The Ten Oxherding Pictures

The Ten Oxherding Pictures

From The Manual of Zen Buddhism, D.T. Suzuki

By Shubun (15th Century)

1. Undisciplined

With his horns fiercely projected in the air the beast snorts,
Madly running over the mountain paths, farther and farther he goes astray!
A dark cloud is spread across the entrance of the valley,
And who knows how much of the fine fresh herb is trampled under his wild hoofs!

2. Discipline Begun

I am in possession of a straw rope, and I pass it through his nose,
For once he makes a frantic attempt to run away, but he is severely whipped and whipped;
The beast resists the training with all the power there is in a nature wild and ungoverned,
But the rustic oxherd never relaxes his pulling tether and ever-ready whip.

3. In Harness

Gradually getting into harness the beast is now content to be led by the nose,
Crossing the stream, walking along the mountain path, he follows every step of the leader;
The leader holds the rope tightly in his hand never letting it go,
All day long he is on the alert almost unconscious of what fatigue is.

4. Faced Round

After long days of training the result begins to tell and the beast is faced round,
A nature so wild and ungoverned is finally broken, he has become gentler;
But the tender has not yet given him his full confidence,
He still keeps his straw rope with which the ox is now tied to a tree.

5. Tamed

Under the green willow tree and by the ancient mountain stream,
The ox is set at liberty to pursue his own pleasures;
At the eventide when a grey mist descends on the pasture,
The boy wends his homeward way with the animal quietly following.

6. Unimpeded

On the verdant field the beast contentedly lies idling his time away,
No whip is needed now, nor any kind of restraint;
The boy too sits leisurely under the pine tree,
Playing a tune of peace, overflowing with joy.

7. Laissez Faire

The spring stream in the evening sun flows languidly along the willow-lined bank,
In the hazy atmosphere the meadow grass is seen growing thick;
When hungry he grazes, when thirsty he quaffs, as time sweetly slides,
While the boy on the rock dozes for hours not noticing anything that goes on about him.

8. All Forgotten

The beast all in white now is surrounded by the white clouds,
The man is perfectly at his ease and care-free, so is his companion;
The white clouds penetrated by the moon-light cast their white shadows below,
The white clouds and the bright moon-light-each following its course of movement.

9. The Solitary Moon

Nowhere is the beast, and the oxherd is master of his time,
He is a solitary cloud wafting lightly along the mountain peaks;
Clapping his hands he sings joyfully in the moon-light,
But remember a last wall is still left barring his homeward walk.

10. Both Vanished

Both the man and the animal have disappeared, no traces are left,
The bright moon-light is empty and shadowless with all the ten-thousand objects in it;
If anyone should ask the meaning of this,
Behold the lilies of the field and its fresh sweet-scented verdure.

and so we make our lives by what we love

it is not irritating to be where one is

it is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else

John Cage


My days would be made easier if I could follow only the rhythm of my heart

sleep until the light comes up

she would say

eat berries from the garden in the summer while you can

walk when the sun can warm even the night sky

and feel the skin of the one you love every day


these days the pace is uneven and quick

like trying to catch the step of the stranger who walks ahead

where is the purpose in that


I do not believe in an ultimate purpose

no answer to the big Why

my hope comes from no where

a vague dream that one day I can step off

and find Peace


some days I find that peace

when my lover’s eyes see me

I am opened and safe

this is peace

just as silence

and cup of tea, warm in my hands





the order of things

In Regimes of Truth, Foucault maintains that no one person holds a coherent aspect of him or herself throughout the varied activities of his or her life.  Who we are in the voting booth isn’t who are in the bedroom. Never more have I come to know this than I have as an art student.

It seems I am constantly asked “what kind of an artist” I am.  I understand the question, but I am at a loss for a reply.  “I don’t know yet,” is my usual response. But the truth is, I don’t know if I will ever know. I don’t believe I have to.  Perhaps it would be easier to call myself a painter; and just a few posts I did just that.  But even then, others want to know what it is that I am saying with my painting, what is the purpose, what drives me. It’s as if every piece of art is to hold some dire message, my message..who I am and what I’m saying..Sometimes, in fact most of the time, I just like the feel of the paint on the canvas.  I like to see my brush strokes, heavy and light, broad and very tiny.  I love the color and the way the oil feels when it charges my brush.  I like to find color in the whitest of white and the darkest of blacks.  When I paint, or draw, and knit; when I create I feel settled.  Perhaps that should be my artist statement, “I paint to feel settled.” or better..”I paint hoping to feel settled.”

old friends

I talked with an old friend today.  We haven’t actually talked to each other in about eighteen years, but last year or so we reconnected through…facebook.  For all that I hate about facebook, I can’t help but be amazed and a little grateful for the fact that I have found dozens, literally, of long lost friends through it.

While my friend and I haven’t talked, we have emailed each other and caught up as much as one can.  Today though, for the first time in too many years, I heard his voice and it was..I can’t explain it…it was healing.  I have moved too many times to count in my life, and have lost touch with more people than I care to admit.  Today was an unexpected gift.

What was most lovely about the our conversation was that it was never awkward.  It could have been. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to be. But by the same token, I was surprised to find it so easy. And now, a few hours later, I am overcome with heartbreaking gratitude that I do not understand and cannot explain. I have felt that parts of me have been scattered around this globe; I have drifted, rather than rooted.  There are moments, like this call, which still me, as if the wind has stopped and for a moment I could be held in one place.

My own memory is not very clear and accurate.  Often I have found it easier to forget; the constant leaving wore heavy; the cost of it evident in  unclear pictures and poor recall. I forget that others haven’t lived this way.  And I am grateful for that.  Today I live differently. It has taken me awhile to come to this place.  Knowing nothing can be held, expecting everything  to change in an instant, I make my home in the present moment. Give it now, listen well; hold and touch and smell all that is with you in this single frame of an instant.  There is no memory or judgement there.

Today a single phone call from an old friend  gave me comfort.  The world is at once a small and  immense place and though I may be scattered across it I am held together by the graciousness of others.