Archive for January, 2010

Bone splitting cold for days…warmer in late afternoon at sunset. The ice flows on the river musical–cracking, whistling, rhythmic, singing solid water songs. I walk by the Hudson. Silent. Taking in the slant of winter light. Carrying still the flatness of crystalline empty mind where thoughts stand out–holograms…ordinary and barely compelling. My practice carries me day after day…steadfast. I am filled with gratitude.

The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.



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Rain. Fog, Balmy day. Slivers of light in the west at 5:43 pm. January almost gone. I am back from 9 days in Worcester, MA attending the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Intensive Practicum. While there, we grappled with the news from Haiti. Privileged to be sitting in meditation; privileged to be served breakfast, lunch and dinner; privileged to be in community with new friends from Sweden, Norway, Italy, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, as well as folks from all over the US. Grappling with cultivating  “the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”


Sorrow everywhere.  Slaughter everywhere.  If babies
Are not starving someplace, they are starving
Somewhere else.  With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
Be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
Be fashioned so miraculously well,  The poor women
At the fountain are laughing together between
The suffering they have known and the awfulness
In their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
In the village is very sick.  There is laughter
Every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
And the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
We lessen the importance of their deprivation
We must risk delight.  We can do without pleasure,
But not delight.  Not enjoyment,  we must have
The stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.  To make injustice the only
Measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
We should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
Anchored late at night in the tiny port
Looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
Is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
Comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
All the years of sorrow that are to come.


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