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Tag Archives: eloquent questions

Ask a Tree

Ask a Tree.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about a large tree on the grounds at Plum Village a Zen monastery in France.  When people are feeling lonely, sad, angry, etc. he suggests they hug the tree for a few moments. It provides people with an opportunity to connect as they pause.

The druids lived in nature often living in trees. Nature was a cathedral and should still be today. As I drove home yesterday, I saw the changing colour in leaves and branches hanging over our street. Nature and trees have stories to tell. We only need to ask, pause of a moment, and listen attentively.

Silver

Silver.

If we can live in the world and it still amazes us and brings us wonder, the silver in our hair will shine. What do we hurry by and step over during our waking hours which, if we were fully awake, would shine forth their extraordinary qualities? Being present and mindful in the world and in our lives, brings the world into a fuller contrast with brightening of the colours, fragrances, tastes, feelings, and sounds.

Today

Sabbath is here. Hafiz, the Sufi poet, wrote  this wonderful poem which helps me understand Sabbath more fully. The third stanza speaks to the need to be present in the world. It is each Now that we can testify to the truth. Yet, this truth is always transient, because I recall it later incompletely.

I do not want to step so quickly
over the beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through earth’s
Marketplace
Today

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved

Something has happened
to my understanding of existence
That now always makes my heart full of wonder
and Kindness.

I do not
Want
To step so quickly
Over the sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath
your own foot

As I dance with
Precious life
Today.

Tree of poems (1)

Tree of poems (1).

This post includes the poem written in three languages, English, Roma, and Italian, along with a graphic. The graphic is fuzzy as it should be. Living is like writing a poem. The space between the words mean something and create a fuzziness that perhaps speaks more clearly than the words spoken.

Similar to writing, living is always a process of editing. The stories we tell and the person we are (our whoness and isness) is not fully describable. Memories are incomplete and fuzzy even the moment we step out of this moment. Moreover, can we even know what we missed and did not understand? Living and reading poetry are always happening in the Now. They always take on new meaning as we listen and act again.

Living is an ongoing conversation in the world and with its phenomena. We live in community where our humanness is what provides the common feature between us and Others we are in relationship with. The world presses in on us and is included in the conversation as it helps us make sense of the journey we are on.

The Path

The Path.

This is a short poem which speaks to the humble beginnings each of us lives. Somehow, we occasionally forget these humble beginnings and the idea that each moment is its own humble re-beginning. We live in the most immediate time possible, now.

Taking time and realizing the path is made with each new step is a humbling experience, sometimes humiliating and always human. All these words, humble, humiliate, and human, share a common root, the word humus.

A path made of humus reminds us that there is a cycle to life. Each moment passes into a never fully retrievable history. In each moment, we live our questions when we are mindful and attentive in the world, not as observers. We live in community with the world and all its phenomena, sentient and non-sentient.

Mysteries, Yes

Mary Oliver writes many poems about life’s mysteries, life’s questions, and the sacred spaces we enter in listening. During Sabbath time, I use her poetry to focus on stillness and allow questions to emerge. They poke their heads forward and are always joined by other questions. The answers are less relevant than the wondering that flows from each question. The mysteries are truly too marvelous to be understood.

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity,
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Build up

Build up.

Each moment is a building block building on what was previously there. There is only place and time we can be in and that is the present moment.

John Dewey in Art as Experience described the aesthetic quality of life. We live and express ourselves under the tension and strain we live. Expressing occurs under pressure. This is not negative. Rather, it is the reality of living life in the world, acting on the environment, being acted upon by the environment, and becoming who we are not as a preplanned package, but as a naturally being and becoming.

Being present is the only place and space to be. Being present is being awake to the world in this most immediate and intimate moment.

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