A Prayer Template

“This morning I woke up
again to endless possibilities.
Today may…”.

Fill in the blank with whatever wish you want. I’ll start with mine:

This morning I woke up
again to endless possibilities.
Today may there be remembering of what matters,
strength to step back,
clarity to see.

A Question

Originally posted on Ignoramuses Anonymous:

by Francis Thompson

O bird with heart of wassail,
That toss the Bacchic branch,
And slip your shaken music,
An elfin avalanche;

Come tell me, O tell me,
My poet of the blue!
What’s YOUR thought of me, Sweet?––
Here’s MY thought of you.

A small thing, a wee thing,
A brown fleck of nought;
With winging and singing
That who could have thought?

A small thing, a wee thing,
A brown amaze withal,
That fly a pitch more azure
Because you’re so small.

Bird, I’m a small thing––
My angel descries;
With winging and singing
That who could surmise?

Ah, small things, ah, wee things,
Are the poets all,
Whose tour’s the more azure
Because they’re so small.

The angels hang watching
The tiny men-things:-
‘The dear speck of flesh, see,
With such daring wings!

‘Come, tell us, O tell us,
Thou strange mortality!
What’s THY thought of us…

View original 237 more words

A Question

by Francis Thompson

O bird with heart of wassail,
That toss the Bacchic branch,
And slip your shaken music,
An elfin avalanche;

Come tell me, O tell me,
My poet of the blue!
What’s YOUR thought of me, Sweet?––
Here’s MY thought of you.

A small thing, a wee thing,
A brown fleck of nought;
With winging and singing
That who could have thought?

A small thing, a wee thing,
A brown amaze withal,
That fly a pitch more azure
Because you’re so small.

Bird, I’m a small thing––
My angel descries;
With winging and singing
That who could surmise?

Ah, small things, ah, wee things,
Are the poets all,
Whose tour’s the more azure
Because they’re so small.

The angels hang watching
The tiny men-things:-
‘The dear speck of flesh, see,
With such daring wings!

‘Come, tell us, O tell us,
Thou strange mortality!
What’s THY thought of us, Dear?––
Here’s OUR thought of thee.’

‘Alack! you tall angels,
I can’t think so high!
I can’t think what it feels like
Not to be I.’

Come tell me, O tell me,
My poet of the blue!
What’s YOUR thought of me, Sweet?–
Here’s MY thought of you.

______

Commentary:

This is a sweet, beautiful way to express the limit of thinking, especially in the context of finding out who it is that is really living. The personal-me sense is all I know to be me, and though it’s obviously an experience, and therefore cannot be the one who is living, I find myself clinging to it, though it has become nightmarish. Familiarity is a strong bind indeed. I know of no other way to know. I suppose the poem appealed to my sore head because it served as a kind of soothing balm. And it’s also an inspiring example of a way, a cathartic or creative one, to channel and transform the frustrating question that is myself–––other than my own personal favorite of keeping on banging my head against the wall followed by, well, angry frustration (then eating a pack of cookies).

“Alack, you tall angels, / I can’t think so high!”
Amen, Francis Thompson, indeed. Realizing that relying on the mind alone, I’ll always be cornered, praying for help is the rational course of action. “Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”

Walking

Walking
by Paul Schmidt

Sneakered feet hover-glide
then drop home
onto the asphalt below and before me
Could gravity be defined as exalting?
Is this what is meant as a bond?

Walking just walking
Each planted step I become a tree
and know its feel…
being of the ground,
the primal solidarity which celebrates in height

Walking down the middle of the street
I couldn’t fall out of rhythm
or take a false step if I tried
A cat skip-arches across up ahead,
out of the source of laughter

All of god’s creation
now gathered in a walking body
The solid river moving beneath us
I am king
The world at my toe steps

Circle of Life

For us born in the ’80s, this might be very nostalgic. It certainly is for me. At any rate, it’s an uplifting song.

It’s the circle of life
and it moves us all
through despair and hope
through faith and love
till we find our Place
on the path unwinding
in the circle,
the circle of life.

What really caught my attention is this idea of finding our Place. To me, my Place is where I don’t have to put up a performance, where I am accepted the way I really am. Where I am unconditionally loved.

Christ Truth?

Dear Mary, Listen to these words of hope: From out the depths of depression and feeling of guilt, from out the sense of personal worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness and despair; from out this nearly unendurable darkness seemingly void of Love always comes the birth of the Christ Truth within! Always! Without fail! Inevitably! ––William Samuel

Is William Samuel right? What is Christ Truth?

Merry X-mas!
X stands for the Unknown.

Meditation from a Slightly Different Angle

I tend to imagine meditation, as done by “good” meditators, as something they do actively, even aggressively at times. They have a keen memory and clarity of their deepest desire. They have a strategy on how to work on their main problem. Daily they deliberately carve out time to meditate, and warrior-like they stick to their commitment despite their changing moods and external circumstances.

But in meditating, a fearless, disciplined warrior is the least I feel about myself. And my imagination or presumption about what a good meditation is, is often used as an excuse I use to beat myself up and not meditate. The most effective motivations that bypass all excuses and get me to meditate are fear of impending death and frustration, and my topic here is the latter. I am talking about those moments when it becomes clear to us that there has been a single motivation for nearly all of our activities, physical and mental, mundane and spiritual–––and that is to quell restlessness. Suddenly we become aware that our heart has always been drenched in a vague but persistent complaint, dissatisfaction, longing, desire, lack. Alongside this, however, is the realization that all our activities and pursuits have been missing the mark. Whatever is missing has become so abstract that the intellect is grappling in the dark, struggling to come up with words to describe what is wrong, or to pose a question that feels to the point, personal, and honest. Whatever words we hear are not our words, except for “I have no idea.” But my feeling is, this is precisely when there can be intensity in meditation, though we cannot honestly say we have a hand in making the meditation happen. Compelled by speechlessness born of frustration, meditation seems to spontaneously turn on. This is meditation as a response from the honestly ignorant: we cannot define the core of our problem, so we feel we do not know how to properly respond.

At last in touch with that parasite,
That merciless leech on my heart:
Angst and disquiet,
That never relent and doggone frustrate!

Finally I see why,
Why the mind ever rotates, the feet always fleet
To what will divert next, but meet always defeat.
Why I am never home.

After all distractions lose their charm,
and meds can no longer numb,
After I exhaust myself running round,
And having racked my brain it pounds,
Still––God!––
No Satisfaction is found.

Is there a stone unturned,
something yet to try?
What else to do now that it’s the end of day?
Where did all noontide frenzy flee?
Where else have I not peeked?

Drained, I sit and rock my chair.
Listless body, befogged mind,
What is left now but to stare
At where else now but that Great Ache,
Here where I am?
Strive for words to vent but can’t,
Only an elliptical “What?”
of a frustrated sigh.

It’s dark now, and though still I want to flail,
Body, mind, I know to no avail,
For all my limbs have failed,
And the mind feels like a jail.
At a loss,
Stranded on a last resort,
I stare and meditate.

And maybe, just maybe, there at the peak of ignorance and powerlessness, automatic meditation is the most direct response to answering the question of what it is we really want, to look for and at what is missing. And maybe, we have then meditated successfully.

Coda: My friend Charlotte K said that desperation is a gift. Have you considered that? Any comments?

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