There’s courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-
open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp
compassion in this group? What’s the
use of old and frozen thought? I want
a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.
We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm
won’t do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.
If anyone knows where this was published, could you let me know so I can add proper links here?
Psychologists angst quite a bit over whether there is an essential us or whether we are creature of circumsances.
Of course we are both and neither.
Without a deep respect for the place where we find ourselves, how can we see the world? Irish Yorkshireman poet David Whyte calls the place we stand “hallowed ground”.
Birmingham poet, Roy Fisher is functional as any Brummy should be.
The universe, we define
As a place capable of having
A place like this for its centre.
There’s no shame/ in letting the world pivot
On your own patch. That’s all a centre is for. (p.13).
( I must buy his book but I haven’t discovered the title yet.)
Is it true that thinking about the objects around us helps us see opportunity and choice?
Are our lives poetry of ‘our place’? Even if we not conciously writing its poems?
- What thoughts did I have today because of my surroundings?
- Did I even notice my surroundings?
Would I think differently if I rearranged my surroundings and made them more attention?
Would I enjoy thinking that way?
My profession is riddled with questions that were once as compelling as the moon in the water.
- Leaders are born
- Leaders are made
- Intelligence comes in bigger and smaller packages.
It took us some time to realise that what we wanted so badly wasn’t unattainable – it was an illusion.
It’s not so bad, though, to lie back on the grass and look at the moon overhead, is it?
We’ve just got to let go and let the universe whisper its secrets to us.
I watch the people in the world
I watch people in the world
Throw away their lives lusting after things,
Never able to satisfy their desires,
Falling into deeper despair
And torturing themselves.
Even if they get what they want
How long will they be able to enjoy it?
For one heavenly pleasure
They suffer ten torments of hell,
Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone.
Such people are like monkeys
Frantically grasping for the moon in the water
And then falling into a whirlpool.
How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer.
Despite myself, I fret over them all night
And cannot staunch my flow of tears.
Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)
the road from DAMASCUS
“Everyone is warm to something, their team or teddy bear or pint glass.” (p. 97)
“But you could feel warmly towards not just one piece, not only sentimentally and a little sarcastically, but towards all of it, towards all reality.” (p. 97)
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
William Carlos Williams
William Carlos William
I discovered William Carlos Williams poetry through his poem This is Just to Say, his magnificent poem about eating undeserved plums from the refrigerator. We use This is Just to Say to illustrate savoring and mindfulness, two key ideas in the blossoming positive psychology.
Celebrating the world as it is through American rhythms of speech
I understand The Red Wheel Barrow is even more popular and represents William Carlos Williams’ belief that poetry should portray the essence and meaning of familiar life in simple language using the rhythms of American speech. Someone has helpfully provided a chart to help us read the poem on Wikipedia.
Mindfulness and Happiness
“to draw his themes from what he called “the local.”
“try to see the world as it is”
Isn’t that what we call mindfulness today?
It’s interesting that he had worked out this philosophy before World War II.
you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
they have moments of
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
you may not believe
but such people do
but I am not one of
oh no, I am not one
I am not even near
but they are
and I am
I imagine its good to know whether you start from a place of serene calm or constant agitation.
Then the challenges are the same?
To be vital. To live at our frontiers? To have faith in our temperament?
I don’t like anger. I don’t trust it. We just become one track-minded and lose perspective.
Eduardo Galeano expresses the anger many of us feel
But sometimes we do need to sink into an emotion. I re-read Galeano’s words on the hegemony of unfairness and I re-read them aloud. These are hard words to be read aloud to hear their flint-sharp steel-hard tones.
Reading negative poetry aloud at home is safe . . . and cathartic
I felt better. I did.
It doesn’t harm that below those words I had also recorded a positive way forward. But it helped to hear words that confirmed that I am not the only person in the world so heartily tired of having to pretend that the unfairness we see every day is not there.
Maybe one day I will read those words aloud in public
The Many Wines
God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.
God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.
God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.
God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don’t think all ecstacies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a conoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about “what’s needed.”
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it’s been untied,
and is just ambling about.