Days pass by, and if we’re keyed in to public and world affairs we can daily feel the squeeze, like a wet rag twisted, twisted until all the moisture is bled out. We’re getting used to it again, though I know I’ve seen this all before, rolled out in much the same way.
Again we observe the profit of a few supported by the suffering of many. The aggressive and violent impoverishment of others. International affairs conducted like a football game, with the respective populations cheering fr
In my family, freckles were called ‘angel kisses.’ A fairy took your discharged baby tooth and left a prize in its place (we got a coin.) Uncle’s hair turns gray overnight: he’d seen a ghost. Birth marks were signs of deity contagion. At the same time, we were practicing Catholics, so we were touched by God during communion…actually, we ate that God, a god who denied the legitimacy of the other, folksy pagan gods (of course), but we included them in our milieu anyway. It was fun. It made u
While working with my Cleopatra thread on the Ancient Mysteries subforum, I came across this piece and it struck me, but it wasn’t appropriate to include it there. It contains a large intimated truth: the more that someone has in life – the more material rewards – the harder it is for them to lose it, or let go of it. This is especially true when one gets those rewards and doesn’t experience, along the way, losses to temper the ego’s gold-plated crown.
The ancient Roman we know as Marc An
Here’s the famous 1897 poem by Yeats that, I say, frames the mystic’s quest in symbolism and metaphor:
“The Song of Wandering Aengus”
I went out to the hazel wood,
because a fire was in my head,
and cut and peeled a hazel wand,
and hooked a berry to a thread;
and when white moths were on the wing,
and moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
and caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carr
Our glorious biosphere is being attacked. By us. We are the culprits. We have, over the years, allowed it to happen. We consented. We could have stopped it. We still could, possibly. But we don’t do that. We shop. We focus on our phones. We luxuriate in our egos, our credit ratings, our illusions and self-indulgence. We are delusionary. We are scientific. We are religious. We are secular. We are religiously or secularly moral. We are neither. We are charitable. We are apathetic
Surviving megaliths portraying Amenhotep III, from the ruin of his Valley Temple on the West bank at Thebes:
Amenhotep III was the most glittering of the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs; his long reign came at the material and political peak of that dynasty. The prosperity and affluence of the kingdom was reflected exponentially in his personal grandeur and lavish display of wealth and power. His funeral ceremonies would likely have eclipsed every other public or private ritu
Here where I live in upstate NY the autumn colors were delayed in October, but are now fully awash at the opening of November. The breath halts in the morning at sunrise on seeing the incandescent foliage as it readies for death. Cabbage white butterflies flitter through stands of red sumac and remind of Robert Frost’s confrontation with nature’s design. This symbol—the grandeur of autumn trees and grasses—like the finale song of the dying mute swan, is a perennial one so often used in the pa
Once I saw a Minotaur
peeking through my bedroom door.
Then burst my most potent scream
I thought, however nothing more
I heard but hooves and breathy steam.
Now why would that be so? How could
panic mute to hooves on wood,
constricting or convulsing that
defensive instinct of childhood
to vocalize alarm? Combat
comes to children hard, it seems,
coalescing in bad dreams.
And something else, so
Right now I’m sitting in my study, looking out the big window as dusk settles over the treetops, thinking back to about a dozen years or so ago when I’d just got my cat. I’d never had a pet before. Lots of reasons for that, but most of all I didn’t want to own a living, breathing being. It just seemed wrong for me, though I played plenty with other people’s pets and didn’t mind at all that they owned theirs.
The problem was I needed company. I do much of my work at home, and I live
One reason why Yeats is so highly regarded is that his themes are timeless. This next poem is long (I'll only show part 1--the most famous section) and grounded in its own era, but razor sharp and relevant to our current zeitgeist. Enjoy.
ref: Phidias was the classical Athenian sculptor responsible for the Parthenon friezes and the huge olive wood/ivory and gold clad statue of Athena that was inside, and is long lost.
Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen (1)
Many ingenious lov
...from the American zen poet Gary Snyder:
At Tower Peak
Every tan rolling meadow will turn into housing
Freeways are clogged all day
Academies packed with scholars writing papers
City people lean and dark
This land most real
As its western-tending golden slopes
And bird-entangled central valley swamps
Sea-lion, urchin coasts
Into the aromatic almost-Mexican hills
Along a range of granite peaks
The names forgotten,
An eastward runnin
Raqqa after U.S. coalition bombing to "save" the city from Isis
These Are The Clouds
These are the clouds about the fallen sun,
the majesty that shuts his burning eye:
the weak lay hand on what the strong has done,
till that be tumbled that was lifted high
and discord follow upon unison,
and all things at one common level lie.
And therefore, friend, if your great race were run
and these things came, so much the more thereby
have you made greatness your companion,
to the place where there is nothing,
and take care that nothing comes in.
Penetrate to the depths of yourself,
to the place where thought no longer exists,
and take care that no thought arises there!
There where nothing exists,
There where nothing is seen,
the Vision of Being!
There where nothing appears any longer,
the sudden appearing of the Self!
Dhyana is this!
I saw a great light come down over London,
And buildings and cars and people were still
They were held wherever they were under the sky's
Clear humming radiance as it descended --
Everywhere, in shops, behind desks and on trains
Everything stopped as the stillness came down
And touched the crown of our heads
As our eyes closed, and the sky filled us
And our minds became the sky --
And everyone, regardless of crime class or creed
Was touched; as slowly we began to stir
The master poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, crafted this astonishing love poem with its hypnotic imagery in 1847, and it's been set to music multiple times since then by the likes of Benjamin Britten, Ned Rorem, and other luminaries. But is it just a love poem? Or is it also an esoteric pointing, as was suggested to me long ago. Note the alchemical character of the specific images, the colors, the flowers, the white bird, the astronomy references, the stages of development. It is curious. It is
In 1985, a man named Douglas Simmons brought a bag of antiquities to the British Museum for evaluation. Among the varied objects was one cuneiform tablet. The duty officer at that moment was Irving Finkel, one of the museum’s Assyriologists and now Curator in charge of Cuneiform Inscriptions in the British Museum’s Middle Eastern department.
Finkel picked up the cuneiform tablet and began to translate it. It quickly became clear that it was a 3700 year old Babylonian artifact which e
There was a man whose name was eden ahbez. He was a mysterious person, a sort-of early nomadic hippie in California. He wrote an important song that many major artists have sung and recorded. Numerous films have included a version of it in the soundtrack. Nat King Cole made it famous, but there are great versions by Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, and countless others. Here are the lyrics, and then there's my favorite, most haunting versi
“When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident,
Because I have no gift for eloquence or summary, I'm going to quote a long dialogue between a questioner and Krishnamurti on God, belief in God, and where or how to find God. It may be of interest to those who debate these questions here on UM:
Krishnamurti influenced many from various disciplines, including Bruce Lee:
Bruce Lee with the aged Krishnamurti (in a black wig!)