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Kahlil Gibran - Self-Knowledge

Self-Knowledge

by Kahlil Gibran


And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.


-- from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
Poetry Chaikhana | Kahlil Gibran - Self-Knowledge

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Kahlil Gibran - Self-Knowledge

Self-Knowledge

by Kahlil Gibran


And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.


-- from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
Poetry Chaikhana | Kahlil Gibran - Self-Knowledge

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Kahlil Gibran - Pain

Pain

by Kahlil Gibran


Original Language English

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen,
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


-- from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
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Poetry Chaikhana | Kahlil Gibran - Pain


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We are present through perception, not action. Yes, action and interaction can be a powerful way to force us to pay attention, but it is also common to use action to shut down the awareness. Whether in movement or in stillness, the real goal is to keep the eyes open and feel fully with the heart and with the gut. We want to do more than look, but to see and see deeply. We need to see what is ignored and glossed over, to "dig and burrow in the world."

Even in complete stillness, truly seeing is one of the most profound actions we can engage in. People are brought to tears by a gentle gaze in the eyes. This is what the soul craves, to be seen, to be recognized, to be truly acknowledged. This is true not just of the human soul, but of the world soul. I think of this when Denise Levertov writes of how the world "looks at one looking."

Poetry Chaikhana | Sacred Poetry from Around the World

Some of my friends worry, Tao bless them, because i so rarely post.
I am into silence and not talking.
I have little to say.
I am lazy.
I am fine!
I love you all!

Kalidasa - Exhortation of the Dawn

Exhortation of the Dawn

by Kalidasa

English version by W. S. Merwin & J. Moussaieff Masson
Original Language Sanskrit

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!


-- from Sanskrit Love Poetry, Translated by W. S. Merwin / Translated by J. Moussaieff Masson
<Poetry Chaikhana | Kalidasa - Exhortation of the Dawn
This preparation for the day has been a favorite of mine for mine.  I first read it 33 years ago in a book of meditations for members of AA.  The first and lines were missing and it was presented as a "Sanskrit proverb."

It is nice to learn that its writer was the 4th Century Hindu poet, Kalidasa.  Some of my favorite poets were devotees of the manifestation/goddess, Kali; i have no idea why.

Thomas Merton - Stranger

Stranger

by Thomas Merton


Original Language English

When no one listens
To the quiet trees
When no one notices
The sun in the pool.

Where no one feels
The first drop of rain
Or sees the last star

Or hails the first morning
Of a giant world
Where peace begins
And rages end:

One bird sits still
Watching the work of God:
One turning leaf,
Two falling blossoms,
Ten circles upon the pond.

One cloud upon the hillside,
Two shadows in the valley
And the light strikes home.
Now dawn commands the capture
Of the tallest fortune,
The surrender
Of no less marvelous prize!

Closer and clearer
Than any wordy master,
Thou inward Stranger
Whom I have never seen,

Deeper and cleaner
Than the clamorous ocean,
Seize up my silence
Hold me in Thy Hand!

Now act is waste
And suffering undone
Laws become prodigals
Limits are torn down
For envy has no property
And passion is none.

Look, the vast Light stands still
Our cleanest Light is One!


-- from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton, by Thomas Merton
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Poetry Chaikhana | Thomas Merton - Stranger
CHAPTER IX

THE THIRD FORM OF CONTEMPLATION

Read the text...Collapse )As i read the previous chapter i developed a strong feeling that i was not ready for it and that the time spaces between chapters should be exponential: that i should wait a week after reading chapter I to read chapter II, two more weels to read chapter III, another month for chapter IV, etc.  I would mull over chapter VII for eight months before moving on and chapter VIII for a year and a half; then maybe i could underrstand chapter IX.

Sometimes, in reading IX, i felt like i was reading VIII over again.  I know there has got to be a difference between the realm of Being and that which is "beyond being and non-being," but i don't think it can be expressed in any human language.  This is why intellect is a useless tool in contemplation.

I learned a lot from this book.  (There is one more chapter, but it is mostly epilogue.)  She tried valiently to produce a guide to mysticism for everybody.  She almost succeeds.  Maybe Underhill was too English, too upper middle class, too Christian and too Catholic to make it work for everybody.  Maybe, finally, anyone who tried to do this would be at a loss for words.

I will read this book again and again and perhaps come closer to what she intended the reader to "understand."  But i don't think that the "mystery" can ever be "solved;" nor should it be "solved;" and i should not want to "solve" it.

Both Sides, Now - Joni Mitchell

Both Sides, Now Lyrics - Joni Mitchell

Here is a song from the 1960s that has a different meaning for me now than it did then.

I thinki of advaita, which is said to mean "not two."  If i insist on seeing things as a multiplicity, i had better see more than "both sides."  Each "side" is likely to be a wrong side.

Of course clouds, love. life, and everything else are "illusions."  My "doors of perception" are too clouded by ego, socialization, history, culture, gender, class, taste, etc. to distinguish what is Real from what isn't.  I'm working on that.

CHAPTER VIII

THE SECOND FORM OF CONTEMPLATION

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This chapter deals with contemplating the "world of Being" which Underhill in the previous chapter called "Metaphysical" which helps me not at all to understand what this chapter is about.  Why do we need this intermediate form of contemplation?  Well, Underhill was a mystic and i am not.  This is an experiential thing; until i have fully learned to contemplate nature, i won't have the experience required to understand why i cannot just skip to the "third form."

I am further troubled by her omission of Eastern (Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist) examples of meditation and contemplation, which, paradoxically, might further simplify her teaching.

In the same vein, i have to be careful about my  understanding of her terms "desire" and "craving."  I immediately think of the Noble Truth that all suffering is caused by desire.  I have to understand better than i do the idea of "disinterested adoration." or detachment with love.  If i can clarify this i can perhaps understand how an impersonal and "ruthless" Tao can be the source of compassion and mercy in its human followers.

Evidently, because the world of Becoming and the word of Being are "opposites" they must be contemplated separately before they can be experienced as a unity  in the "third form of contemplation."  How Taoists. Buddhists, and agnostics can deal with this, i will have to wait to find out.

I much enjoyed the section on Julian's visions (pages 61-64) which seemed to me to give the clearer idea of what Underhill was trying to say here.  Buy why should "He maintaineth" creation seem to be supposed to be more important than "He loveth" it?

My damned mind keeps getting in the way of my heart's desire to achieve unity with the "One." 

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