Rilke

‘You’re not crazy, you’re creative.’ ✧

November 3, 2019

A Circle expands forever
It covers all who wish to hold hands
And its size depends on each other
It is a vision of solidarity
It turns outwards to interact with the outside
And inward for self critique
A circle expands forever
It is a vision of accountability
It grows as the other is moved to grow
A circle must have a centre
But a single dot does not make a Circle
One tree does not make a forest
A circle, a vision of cooperation, mutuality and care

—Mercy Amba Oduyoye 

Mercy Amba Oduyoye, “The Story of a Circle” (Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians), The Ecumenical Review, vol. 53, no. 1 (January 2001), 97. Used with permission.

Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Compassion & Contemplation

  1. Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
  2. The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.
  3. Gracious behavior is more important than right belief.
  4. Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
  5. Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.
  6. Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
  7. Peacemaking is more important than power.
  8. We should care more about love and less about sex.
  9. Life in this world is more important than the afterlife (Eternity is Gaia’s work anyway).

Rilke/New Poems:

Mohammed’s Calling

…but the angel, imperious,pointed over and over

to what was written on the page he held,

and would not held and kept insisting: read.

Then the man read, and when he did the angel bowed. 

It was as if he had always been reading,

and now was able to obey and bring to pass.

Alexander Stoddard/Grace Notes:

’Any profound view of the world is mysticism.’ -Albert Schweitzer

Love the questions. The bigger the questions, the better. The mysteries of life have never been understood by any human so far and never will be. The little things that make you happy, the order you put into your corner of the universe, the joy you feel from these small rituals, are mysterious. You’re not crazy; you’re creative. It’s all right if you are teased. Who cares? You do these things for yourself.

A BIBLICAL ROUGH DRAFT

The New Yorker

[Bob Odenkirk is a writer, a comedian, and an actor. He stars in the AMC television series “Better Call Saul.”]

‘Many do not know that the Bible was once a “living document,” passed orally from person to person, and from generation to generation, before finally being written down. Even the most well-known Biblical passages went through countless iterations before arriving at the final, perfect, logical, cohesive, and treasured versions we now hold dear.

Early written drafts of the Bible were the transcribed pontifications of travelling “storytellers,” who tromped from village to village in floppy sandals, swatting at flies, sipping beads of dew from the undersides of donkeys, and fighting dogs for scraps of raw meat. A close reading of the earliest known transcription of a popular excerpt from the Book of Matthew reveals that the “narrator” is suffering from low blood sugar. No doubt a syphilitic holy man dressed in desert rags, he searches in vain for just the right metaphor, a well-aimed zinger with which to make his point. The toil that the poor fellow suffers in so doing undercuts the very principle he is straining to illustrate.’

[Full essay]

 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/04/a-biblical-rough-draft

 

 

Rilke.

October 18, 2019

‘Our security must become a relationship to the whole, omitting nothing.’

 

ℒℴve

October 6, 2019

Ghandi recognized, as no other world leader of our time has done, the necessity to be from from the pressures, the exorbitant and tyrannical demands of a society that is violent because it is essential greedy, lustful, and cruel.

He recognized the impossibility of being a peaceful and nonviolent man, if one submits passively to the insatiable requirements of a society maddened by overstimulation and obsessed with demons of noise, voyeurism, and speed.

Gandhi believed that the central problem of our time was the acceptance or the rejection of a basic law of love and truth which had been made knows to the world in traditional religions.

His whole, his political action, finally even his death, were nothing but a witness to this commitment: “If love is not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces.”

-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction

 

The most inward and loving of all,

he came forth like a new beginning,

the brown-robed brother [St. Francis] of your nightingales,

with his wonder and good will

and delight in Earth.

Rilke, The Book of Hours III, 33

 

This is the miracle of love: to discover that all creation is one, flung out into space.

[…] 

This is the principle of nonviolence, and I want to recommend it to you with all the enthusiasm I can command. . . .

If human beings go to war, it is because they fear someone.

Remove the fear, and you re-establish trust, and will have peace.

Nonviolence means destroying fear.

-Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

—John Steinbeck, The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957)


Autumn Day

October 1, 2019

Lord, the time has come. Summer was abundant.

Cast your shadows over the sundial,

across the fields unleash your winds.

 

Command the final fruits to ripen.

Grant them two more southern days,

bring them to fullness and press

their last sweetness into the heavy wine.

 

Who  now has no house will not build one.

Who now is alone will remain alone,

will read into the night, write long letters,

and, restless, wander streets

where leaves are blowing.

 

-Rilke, Book of Images

Generation to Generation

September 29, 2019

Rilke.

I would rather sense you

as the earth senses you.

In my ripening 

ripens

what you are.

 

No miracles, please.

Just let your laws

become clearer

from generation to generation.

Thomas Merton.

You train your eye, and your vision lusts after color. You train your ear, and you long for delightful sounds. You delight in doing good, and your natural kindest is blown out of shape. You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason. You overdo liturgy, and you turn into a ham actor. Overdo your love of music, and you play corn. Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving. Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.

When the delights become a religion, how can you control them?

Chuang Tzu, who wrote in the fourth and third centuries B.C., is the chief authentic historical spokesman for Taoism.

Love Economy

September 2, 2019

 

Some say it’s naive to think we can turn love into the governing principle of our civilization; I say it’s naive to think we’ll last another 100 years on this planet if we don’t try. Swords into plowshares: we can to turn a war economy into a peace economy. Where [he] has harnessed fear, we must harness love.-Marianne
Admonitions, 27:
Where there is charity and wisdom there is neither fear nor ignorance.
Those who live in love have a wisdom about them, particularly in their sense of priorities. They know what is important.
Day by Day with St. Francis:
Those who are fearful see things that aren’t there, and tend not to grasp the truth when it is presented to them.

In love there is no fear; indeed, perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18

‘Occasional churchgoing and the recitation of has prayers have no power to cleanse this purulent wound.’ -Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

‘Lord, the great cities are lost and rotting.

Their time is running out…

The people there live harsh and heavy,

crowded together, weary of their own routines.

Beyond them waits and breathes your earth,

but where they are ti cannot reach them.

They don’t know that somewhere

wind is blowing through a field of flowers.’

-Rilke, The book of Hours III, 4/5

 

My campaign for the presidency is dedicated to this search for higher wisdom. Its purpose is to create a new political possibility in America — where citizens awaken, our hearts and minds are uplifted, and our democracy once more becomes a thing about which we can all feel proud.

This is a new time, and we must bring forth something new within ourselves in order to deal with it.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
 

Make of us a garland.

August 31, 2019

Rilke:

We are not poor. We are just without riches,

we who have no will no world:

marked with the marks of the latest anxiety, disfigured, stripped of leaves.

 

Around us swirls the dust of the cities,

the garbage clings to us.

We are shunned as if contaminated,

thrown away like broken pots, like bones,

like last year’s calendar.

 

And yet if our Earth needed to

she could weave us together like roses

and make of us a garland.

 

For each being is cleaner than washed stones

and endlessly yours, and like an animal

who knows already in its first blind moments

its need for one thing only…

 

to let ourselves be poor like that…as we truly are.

 

-The Book of Hours III,16


“…a discovery that respects the hiddenness and in communicability of each one’s personal secret, while paying tribute to his presence in the common celebration.”

-Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

 

 

 

 

Shoes & Practice

June 25, 2019

‘The Golden Rule is so basic, so logical, so easy to agree with, yet so utterly difficult to practice! One way to start is to simply put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to practice empathy and sympathy. Practice is really the operative word, for empathy does require practice. It takes many intentional efforts before we can make it a habit.’

Day by Day with St. Francis, by Peter A. Giersch [2015]

If we just keep hold of each other, you grasping the young one and I the old, we could revolve together like ´*.¸.• .¸. ¸.☆¨ .¸.¸¸.☆’s.

New Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke

God is in the roses.

June 15, 2019

God is in the roses
The petals and the thorns
Storms out on the oceans
The souls who will be born
And every drop of rain that falls
Falls for those who mourn
God is in the roses
And the thorns. -Rosanne Cash

“Vulnerability transforms you. You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected. I think that’s the way we are meant to be in the presence of one another.” [Richard Rohr]

The cross was not a transactional moment, but deeper, ensconced in humility and vulnerability. [Reference to Richard Rohr]

“As he draws near Jerusalem, Jesus weeps out of a sadness and frustration at people’s blindness to what is right in front of them…oblivious.” [Forward Day by Day]

“The Talmud says that unhappy conditions arise when we mistake shadower substance. We are ever renewed by the presence of that which cannot change. We are ever renewed by the passage of the Divine light through our consciousness. Silently, I pass from less to more, from isolation to inclusion, from separation into oneness.” [Ernest Holmes]

“And this above all: that through these petals light must pass. From a thousand skies, each drop of darkness is filtered out and the glow at the core of each flower grows stronger and rises into life.

And the movement of the roses has a branch none could discern, were it for for what it ignites in the universe entire…

One could say they were self-contained if self-contained meant to transform the world outside, patience of springtime, guilt and restlessness, the secrecy of fate and the darkness of Earth at evening…on out to the streaming and fleeing of clouds and, farther yet, the orders of the stars…take it all and turn it into a handful of inwardness.”

See how it lies at ease in the open roses. -Rilke

 

Thoughts and meditations.

May 19, 2019

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.

-Mark Nepo

It is the tending of our own souls that invites the natural process of love to begin. I remember my very first tumble into love. I found such comfort there that, like Narcissus, I became lost in how everything other than my pain was reflected in his beauty. All the while, I was addicting my own worth, empowering him as the key to my sense of joy.

If I have learned anything through the years, it is that, though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar into our very own being. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to  root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to attract others. In other words, in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner essence is released that calls others to experience our personal light.

It seems the very job of being is to ready us for such love.

In this way, the Universe continues through the unexpected coming together of blossomed souls.

So if you can, give up the want of another and be who you are, and more than not, love will come at the precise moment you are simply in love with you. [Nepo]

Identify one trait makes you feel good about who are are: your laugh, your simile, your ability to listen, or the sound of your voice.

Notice how this effects others.

These small moments are the beginnings of love. They do not yet have definition.

Take a moment. Give thanks for your small goodness and for the potential love of others.


A hunger drives us.

We want to contain it all in our naked hands,

our bribing sense, our speechless hearts.

We want to become it, or offer it-but to whom?

We could hold it forever-but, after all,

what can we keep?

Not the beholding, so slow to learn.

Not anything that has happened here.

Nothing.

There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.

And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it

unsayable.

Later,

amidst the stars,

we will see: these are better unsaid.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. 

-Plato

Science of Mind/Ernest Holmes:

This was the Christ speaking, the son begotten of the only Father-the Son of God. Humble in his humanity, compassionate in his tenderness, understand the frailties of the human mind, he let the Great Spirit speak through him, in words of love and sympathy. He proclaimed his divinity through his humanity and taught that all men are brothers.

Rev. Dr. David Goldberg:

The Sanskrit word karuna is translated as compassion, which means active sympathy or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, loving kindness.

It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna or wisdom. Prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion. This takes us back to not attaching our egos to what we do, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.

In Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive-it’s not empty alone-but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness). [Right Action and Compassion, Barbara O’Brien, April 2018]

 

 

Only time for loving.

May 17, 2019

Mark Twain, looking back on his life:

“There isn’t time so brief is life for bickering, apologies, heart-burnings, calling to account there is only time for loving, but in an instant, so to speak, for that.” [1910]

 

Rilke:

“Brother body is poor…that means we must be rich for him.

He was often the rich one; so may he be forgiven

for the meanness of his wretched moments.

Then, when he acts as though he barely knows us,

may he be gently reminded of all that has been shared.

Of course, we are not one but two solitaries:

our consciousness and he.

But how much we have to thank each other for,

as friends do! And illness reminds us:

friendship demands a lot.” [Written between 1908 and 1923.]

 

Thomas Merton (insert medium of choice):

“I am certainly no judge of television, since I have never watched it. All I know is that there is a sufficiently general agreement, among men whose judgement I respect, that commercial television is degraded, meretricious, and absurd. Certainly, it would seem that TV could become a kind of unnatural surrogate for contemplation: a completely inert subjection to vulgar images, a descent to a sub-natural passivity rather than an ascent to a supremely active passivity in understanding and love. It would seem that television should be used with extreme care and discrimination by anyone who might hope to take interior life seriously. [1961]

 

Supreme Blessedness

May 11, 2019

 

In the end we will hear what we are: 

The orchard or the road leading past.

-Rilke

“Prayer is a perspective from which to behold, from which to respond to, the challenges we face. (Wo)man in prayer does not seek to impose personal life upon God; (s)he seeks to impose God’s will and mercy upon self. Prayer is necessary to make us aware of our failures, backsliding, transgressions, sins.

To pray is to open a door, where both God and soul may enter. Prayer is arrival, for Him and for us. To pray is to overcome distance, to shatter screens, to render obliquities straight, to heal the break between God and world.

A dreadful oblivion prevails in the world. The world has forgotten what it means to be human. The gap is widening, the abyss is within the self.”

-Abraham Joshua Heschel


Beatitudes of Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

-Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10

Humanity is gravely threatened.

May 6, 2019

‘The city we now live will not last.’ [Heb 13:14]

‘Yes, to go forth, hand pulling away from hand.

Go forth to what? To uncertainty,

to a country with no connections to us

and indifferent to the dramas of our life.

What drives you to go forth? Impatience, instinct, 

a dark need, the incapacity to understand.

To bow to all this.

To let go-

even if you have to die alone.

Is this the start of a new life?’ -Rilke

‘The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.The leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength.

The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance.

The great, gashed, half-naked mountain is another of God’s natural saints. There is no other like him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did, or ever will, imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity. -Thomas Merton

 


The Guardian

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

Scientists reveal 1 million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report

“Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, the world’s leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.”

The knock-on impacts on humankind, including freshwater shortages and climate instability, are already “ominous” and will worsen without drastic remedial action, the authors said.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

AP

“The research included more than 450 researchers who used 15,000 scientific and government reports.

A new United Nations science report says nature is in trouble and 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct. [May 6]

The report’s summary had to be approved by representatives of all 109 nations.

The findings are not just about saving plants and animals, but about preserving a world that’s becoming harder for humans to live in, said Robert Watson, a former top NASA and British scientist who headed the report.

“We are indeed threatening the potential food security, water security, human health and social fabric” of humanity, Watson told The Associated Press.

It’s also an economic and security issue as countries fight over scarcer resources. Watson said the poor in less developed countries bear the greatest burden.”

https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports.shtml

Rilke & Nepo

November 4, 2017

Once for each thing. Just once; no more.

And we too, just once. And never again.

But to have been this once, completely,

even if only once: to have been 

at one with the earth,

seems beyond undoing.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I enter every meeting with another being saying to myself, “If I only have this time on Earth with this person, if I may never see them again, when is it I want or need to ask, to know? What is it I want to say?

[…]

The truth is that each living spirit we encounter is a depth to gently swim in, a miracle that can quench our thirst. Honoring others in this way has opened me to wisdoms that would otherwise run silent beneath my time on Earth.

Mark Nepo

 

‘…at one with the earth.’

November 4, 2016

Baladine Klossowska: La Contemplation Intérieure (Rilke dormant sur un petit sofa à Muzot), 1921; watercolor portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke by his lover Klossowska, at the top of which he wrote a poem that is translated into English for the first time below.

         Once for each thing. Just once; no more.

And we too, just once. And never again.

But to have been this once, completely,

even if only once: to have been

at one with the earth,

seems beyond undoing.

-Rainer Maria Rilke


I enter every meeting with another being saying to myself, ‘If I only have this time on Earth with this person, if I may never see them again, what is it I want or need to ask, to know? What is it I want or need to say?’ Honoring others in this way has opened me to wisdoms that would otherwise run silent beneath my time on Earth.

-Mark Nepo

Rilke

June 8, 2015

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“I am not saying that we should love death, but rather that we should love life so generously, without picking and choosing, that we automatically include it (life’s other half) in our love.”

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