Inspiration & Poetry

‎”The real pilgrimage is always the pilgrimage to the heart because that is where the divine and the human come together. And that is where grace can come. And grace can come into our bodies, into ourselves, and into the world that needs it.” –Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

“In America people sometimes claim the “pursuit of happiness” as a right. Yet, the soul has a deeper longing; the soul would trade the right to have a little happiness for the enduring presence of joy. Joy is a key ingredient in ecstatic events, a surprising emotion that involves keen pleasure and sublime delight. Happiness, like happenstance, can come or go on a whim; but joy is an exaltation that remains in the soul, an opening to the realm of spirit that alters our nature.” – Michael Meade


By W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

From the Rain in the Trees, by W.S Merwin, copyright© 1998 by W.S. Merwin.
Used by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Posted on Yes! Magazine:

“The passion in the earth’s whisper grew so loud I woke.”—Meister Eckhart

Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars
The inner — what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

“Isis Redeeming the Shadow” by Slobodan Dan Paich

When I Met My Muse

by William Stafford

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

All the joy the world contains
Has come through wishing happiness for others;
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure just for oneself.

Shantideva, 8th-century, Indian Buddhist scholar

“When we walk upon Mother Earth, we always plant our feet carefully because we know the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from beneath the ground. We never forget them. In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale.”

–Chief Oren Lyons

Our civilisation has a brilliant technological surface to it, but underneath there is emptiness; hollowness and depravaton of a man of his soul. We have a highly specialized external world which in no way reflecs the inner life of man, the psyche, so he goes through an absolutely–from the point of view of the human being–meaningless landscape. It’s an environment without being. Man’s inner nature must have a world and an environment to live in as well as his exterior nature, and art is an instrument for building that world for his inner nature, for building his archetypal home. It is not necessary to understand in order to create. But it is necessary to create in order to understand.

–Cecil Collins, The Vision of the Fool

When Jewels Sing

Radiance results from earth’s pressure,
life working on us with each moments precision
into clear cut uniqueness.

A community of precious human beings
with origins primitive and wild as diamonds,
faceted by skilled and invisible hands that turn us
upon a wheel dusted with God’s bright dark silence,
we become men and women joined to walk
swarthy, holy, original and transparent.

Catching first light of day upon ourselves,
our voices sing of truth and loveliness,
in response to vows first sung to us by stars.

–John Fox, The Institute for Poetic Medicine


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
 catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye
from “The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems”

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

– William Stafford

(The poem above is the one that Orland Bishop spoke of in his plenary talk at the gathering)

The Seven Blunders

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles.

–Mahatma Gandhi

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