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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Even in Temples

Deng Ming-Dao writes how silence has sound. When I meditate, the sounds I hear strike me. Leonard Cohen’s quote echos that with “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Our senses cannot be totally shut off. We feel, hear, see, smell, taste, etc. even when we do not realize it. It is in the moments of quiet or darkness that we see sounds and light are always there. When we are mindful and attentive to our activities and senses, what we did not sense is there. It is in the mindful and meditative moments that the world–its allness–are there for us to soak in.

I told my students that much of the meaning to be found in poetry came in the pauses and silences between words, lines, and stanzas. Poetry touches our souls in those silences. When we pause and soak in the poetry, including the silences it shares with us, the meaning comes to life, only to change the next time we read the lines. In this sense, poetry, like life, is about living its meaning, sensing that is fleeting, incomplete, and fluid.

Even in temples
Where residents vow never to talk,
And silence is worshiped,
There is sound.
There are songs.
There is poetry.

Memories incarnated,
Lifetimes pulled through a thousand minds,
Cadences bearing time,
Rhymes connecting life,
Stanzas stacked like the generations.

Those who follow Tao write poetry.
Read poetry.
Live poetry.
And enter Tao through its lines.

Simplicity is Beautiful

Simplicity is beautiful. We find beauty in things that just are whether it is a sunset, a smile, or the kind word someone shares. Despite the simplicity involved, these are full of complexity. There is paradox in much of what we experience in life. But, it is that paradox of simplicity and complexity that rewards us in our living.

Busy Mind Thinking

I cannot promise to respond to comments, but I can promise to read them.more flowers 008

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nature is never finished. – robert smithson

out walking with the kinders we happened upon a white swan happy and in between seasons. the same as us.

Source: nature is never finished. – robert smithson

When I saw the title of Beth‘s post and read her poem, I thought what a profound moment. Nature has many stories to tell us and many ways of telling them that leave a mystery in each story. We are always between the moments and seasons that desribe the beauty of nature and who we are becoming.

Several years ago, I took a picture of a mountain face. I did not have any idea why I took. It just spoke to me, like the swan in Beth’s poem. I used the picture in a presentation about eco-ethics, after I read an article about geologists who use the striations of a mountain to allow it to tell them its story, knowing it can never be completely told.

When I look at that picture, the mountain tells an even less complete story. The mystery in the story is what draws me back to the picture and maybe is what drew me, without knowing that, when I took the picture.

Mountain's Layers

Smart Cookie

Richard Schiffman counsels that when we are hunting for something, whether it is a cookie or wisdom, it is harder to find it. What we look for can sometimes be right there in front of us, but, in looking for it, we cannot find it. In fact, what we are looking for can end up in the most unexpected places: in a jar in Tennessee.

It is in mindful, sensitive being in the present moment that what we look for finds us. When we apply this to leadership and education, it is about listening to the world and others.

What we each seek is unique to each of us. When we tell the stories and speak the poems about what we seek, we do so finding the words that suit our stories and our poems. Leaders sense this and offer others space to find the words for their stories and poems. In finding and choosing our paths and our words, we can become the smart cookies we seek.

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie,

was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom

that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire

is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving

is in another jar. The jar is buried somewhere in Tennessee.

Don’t even think of searching for it. If you found that jar,

everything would go kerflooey for a thousand miles around.

It is the jar of your fate in an alternate reality. Don’t even

think of living that life. Don’t even think of eating that cookie.

Be a smart cookie—eat what’s on your plate, not in some jar

in Tennessee. That’s my wisdom for today, though I know

it’s not what you were looking for.

Prayer to Mansur Al-Hallaj

Source: Prayer to Mansur Al-Hallaj

Prayer is about listening to the world and is part of an internal conversation. The Sufi prayer is about listening closely. Each stanza of the poem begins with a word that entreats God guide me in sensing the world more deeply, not as something I hear, but as something all my senses are able to engage with.

We think of leadership as action and speech, but it is about sensing the world in a sensitive and mindful manner. Leadership is about a conversation and the questions we ask. It opens up space where there are no preconceived answers and followers can be part of conversation and lead, as well. Leadership and its communication is about community, a gathering of people who do not always agree, but hold something in common.

Dreams To Reality Take Determination

Source: Dreams To Reality Take Determination

The Jesse Owens movie that is coming out is a reminder of the importance of dreams and a person’s determination to follow those dreams. We often forget his story and how he helped break down race barriers in a quiet way with his dreams and determination.

He attended Ohio State University without a scholarship, working several jobs, married, and found time to practice and compete. All this in an era when it would have been unusual and challenging for an African-American to attend an NCAA school like Ohio State.

Kathy worked with one of his grandchildren who told her that Jessie Owens was a quiet and humble man. He worked as a playground supervisor giving back to children and providing a positive role model for young people to follow. Jimmy Carter suggested Jessie Owens did more to break down racial barriers through his determination and his efforts were “a prelude to helping others.”

Be Still in Haste

I find Wendell Berry’s poetry speaks to me about being mindful and attentive in each moment I live. It calls me to be present and explore the mystery in each moment, knowing each moment carries me like a river flowing without knowing where it is going.

The etymology of anarchy suggests we continuously begin anew in each moment. It is not a free-for-all with no rules. Instead, the universe provides us with the rules of what it means to live in that moment. In being present, I come to understand each moment is a re-beginning that is forever unfolding.

Taking the time to be present, allows me to be still even when the world and others are in haste.

How quietly I
begin again

from this moment

looking at the
clock, I start over

so much time has
passed, and is equaled
by whatever
split-second is present

from this
moment this moment
is the first

 

 

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