Monthly Archives: February 2012

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i was dead
i came alive
i was tears
i became laughter

all because of love
when it arrived
my temporal life
from then on
changed to eternal

love said to me
you are not
crazy enough
you don’t
fit this house

i went and
became crazy
crazy enough
to be in chains

love said
you are not
intoxicated enough
you don’t
fit the group

i went and
got drunk
drunk enough
to overflow
with light-headedness

love said
you are still
too clever
filled with
imagination and skepticism

i went and
became gullible
and in fright
pulled away
from it all

love said
you are a candle
attracting everyone
gathering every one
around you

i am no more
a candle spreading light
i gather no more crowds
and like smoke
i am all scattered now

love said
you are a teacher
you are a head
and for everyone
you are a leader

i am no more
not a teacher
not a leader
just a servant
to your wishes

love said
you already have
your own wings
i will not give you
more feathers

and then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life

now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
i have become
the giver of light

— Jalalud’din Rumi – Ghazal 1393 (Poetic Translation)

I was dead

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The heresy of individualism: thinking oneself a completely self-sufficient unit and asserting this imaginary ‘unity’ against all others. The affirmation of the self as simply ‘not the other.’ But when you seek to affirm your unity by denying that you have anything to do with anyone else, by negating everyone else in the universe until you come down to you: what is there left to affirm? Even if there were something to affirm, you would have no breath left with which to affirm it.

The true way is just the opposite: the more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes’ to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

— Thomas Merton – Essential Writings

The heresy of individualism

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A subject to which few intellectuals ever give a thought is the right to be a vagrant, the freedom to wander. Yet vagrancy is deliverance, and life on the open road is the essence of freedom. To have the courage to smash the chains with which modern life has weighted us (under the pretext that it was offering us more liberty), then to take up the symbolic stick and bundle, and get out!

To the one who understands the value and the delectable flavor of solitary freedom (for no one is free who is not alone) leaving is the bravest and finest act of all.

An egotistical happiness, possibly. But for him who relishes the flavor, happiness.

To be alone, to be poor in needs, to be ignored, to be an outsider who is at home everywhere, and to walk, great and by oneself, toward the conquest of the world.

The healthy wayfarer sitting beside the road scanning the horizon open before him, is he not the absolute master of the earth, the waters, and even the sky? What housedweller can vie with him in power and wealth? His estate has no limits, his empire no law. No work bends him toward the ground, for the bounty and beauty of the earth are already his.

In our modern society the nomad is a pariah “without known domicile or residence.” By adding these few words to the name of anyone whose appearance they consider irregular, those who make and enforce the laws can decide a man’s fate.

To have a home, a family, a property or a public function, to have a definite means of livelihood and to be a useful cog in the social machine, all these things seem necessary, even indispensable, to the vast majority of men, including intellectuals, and including even those who think of themselves as wholly liberated. And yet such things are only a different form of the slavery that comes of contact with others, especially regulated and continued contact.

I have always listened with admiration, if not envy, to the declarations of citizens who tell how they have lived for twenty or thirty years in the same section of town, or even the same house, and who have never been out of their native city.

Not to feel the torturing need to know and see for oneself what is there, beyond the mysterious blue wall of the horizon, not to find the arrangements of life monotonous and depressing, to look at the white road leading off into the unknown distance without feeling the imperious necessity of giving in to it and following it obediently across mountains and valleys! The cowardly belief that a man must stay in one place is too reminiscent of the unquestioning resignation of animals, beasts of burden stupefied by servitude and yet always willing to accept the slipping on of the harness.

There are limits to every domain, and laws to govern every organized power. But the vagrant owns the whole vast earth that ends only at the nonexistent horizon, and his empire is an intangible one, for his domination and enjoyment of it are things of the spirit.

— Isabelle Eberhardt – Pencilled Notes – The Oblivion Seekers

About Vagrancy

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Psychologists talk about people who are co-dependent because they don’t have a sense of self. What psychologists mean when they say a person has no sense of self is very different from what the Buddha meant by no-self or selflessness. People with psychological problems actually have a very strong sense of self in the Buddhist sense, although they may not in the psychological sense of the word. Psychologically, they don’t see themselves as efficacious individuals in the world, but they still have a very strong sense of “I”: “I am worthless.” When somebody criticizes them, they don’t like it. They get into co-dependent relationships to protect or to please this “I.” When they fall into self-pity, their sense of an inherently existent “I” is very strong. Thus they still have self-grasping even though they lack a psychologically healthy sense of self.
Buddhism recognizes two kinds of sense of self. There’s one sense of self that is healthy and necessary to be efficacious on the path. The object of this sense of self is the conventionally existent “I.” The other sense of self grasps at an inherently existent self that never has and never will exist. Within Buddhism, when we talk about realizing emptiness, we’re negating the false self, this self that appears inherently existent to us.

— Thubten Chodron – Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig

No-Self

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For the complete mutation in consciousness to take place you must deny analysis and search, and no longer be under any influence, which is immensely difficult. The mind, seeing what is false, has put the false aside completely, not knowing what is true. If you already know what is true, then you are merely exchanging what you consider is false for what you imagine is true. There is no renunciation if you know what you are going to get in return. There is only renunciation when you drop something not knowing what is going to happen. That state of negation is completely necessary. Please follow this carefully, because if you have gone so far you will see that in that state of negation you discover what is true; because, negation is the emptying of consciousness of the known. After all, consciousness is based on knowledge, on experience, on racial inheritance, on memory, on the things one has experienced. Experiences are always of the past, operating on the present, being modified by the present and continuing into the future. All that is consciousness, the vast storehouse of centuries. It has its usefulness in mechanical living only. It would be absurd to deny all the scientific knowledge acquired through the long past. But to bring about a mutation in consciousness, a revolution in this whole structure, there must be complete emptiness. And that emptiness is possible only when there is the discovery, the actual seeing of what is false. Then you will see, if you have gone so far, that emptiness itself brings about a complete revolution in consciousness: it has taken place.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti – The Book of Life

In the state of negation you discover what is true