Thought for the day, Friday 9th July

Your Life is a Mirror – a Sufi story from an unknown author

“A stranger enters a village, and immediately looks for the Sufi master to ask advice. He says, ‘I’m thinking of moving to live in this village. What can you tell me about the people who live here?’
And the Sufi master replies, ‘What can you tell me about the people who live where you come from?’
‘Ah,’ says the visitor angrily. ‘They are terrible people. They are robbers, cheats and liars. They stab each other in the back.’
‘Well now,’ says the Sufi master. ‘Isn’t that a coincidence? That’s exactly what they’re like here.’
So the man departs the village and is never seen there again.
Soon, another stranger enters the village, and he too seeks out the Sufi master for advice. He says, ‘I’m thinking of moving to live in this village. What can you tell me about the people who live here?’
And the Sufi master replies, ‘What can you tell me about the people who live where you come from?’
‘Ah,’ says the visitor in fond remembrance, ‘They are wonderful people. They’re kind, gentle and compassionate. They look after each other.’
‘Well now,’ says the Sufi master, ‘Isn’t that a coincidence? That’s exactly what they’re like here.’”

Thought for the day, Thursday 8th July

From The Prophet by Khalil Gibran,

“And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.
And he answered:
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, “Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.”
And the passionate say, “Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.”

The tired and the weary say, “Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.”
But the restless say, “We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.”

At night the watchmen of the city say, “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
“We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.”

In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
“We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves,
and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”

Thought for the day, Wednesday 7th July

Living Poetry by Christopher Chase
“Every body has a story.
Every atom has a story.
Go back 100 million years
and your atoms were there
in dragonfly wings,
in trees and oceans,
in prehistoric forests,
as steam swirling from
dinosaur dung…
Go back 6 billion years
and most of “you” was
floating as
intergalactic dust,
or buried deep
in the cores of
long gone stars…
Even as recently as a year ago,
most of the trillions of atoms
now in your body
were parts of clouds and rivers,
falling as rain,
living in leaves, trees
plants and soil…
Science is art,
Nature is like music.
Every atom
has a story.
At the deepest levels
we are works of
Cosmic Art,
living poetry.”
Art by Brian Kirhagis

Thought for the day, Tuesday 6th July

From The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation by Thich Nhat Hahn,

“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile, and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.”

Thought for the day, Monday 5th July

“Negative thoughts

Oh, they come and they go
And sometimes they come
A lot more than they go

For thoughts create feelings
And feelings then feel
And that’s why it’s easy
To feel that they’re real

Because when they arrive
They suggest they’re you
And you should do just
What they say you should do

Then slowly the negative
Thoughts can begin
To widen that door
And let themselves in

Then do what they like
And say what they please
To stifle your life
With their negative squeeze

So why not breathe in
And exercise choice
Why not breathe out
and say “No” to the voice

And say “I’m worth more
much, much, more than all that
And that negative voices
Are uncool and old hat”

And get used to calling
The negative out
And slowly it turns
From a scream to a shout

To a murmur, a whisper
And then best of all
The voice will one day
Become nothing at all

Unless it speaks nicelyAnd says let’s have fun
Or suggests quite warm-heartedly
What might be done

For why would-you-possibly
Talk to yourself
In a way that you’d not
Talk to anyone else?

So why not decide
That it’s time to get free
And stand up to the (deeply uncool) voice
Of Negativity”

Murray Lachlan Young

Thought for the day, Sunday 4th July

As well as being American Independence Day, today is the anniversary of Transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau moving into his log cabin in the woods at Walden Pond in 1845. In Walden he wrote,
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived…
If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”

Thought for the day, Friday 2nd July

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

Hermann Hesse (1877 – 1962), Swiss novelist, painter, poet, and winner of the Novel prize for literature, born on this day.

Thought for the day, Thursday 1st July

“If you have spent your whole life becoming somebody and having something, the beginning of awakening requires you to turn around and start the journey in the other direction, towards becoming nothing, becoming nobody, and having nothing. ⁣⁣It would seem to make the entire first part of your life meaningless or like some sort of error.⁣⁣ But it’s important to see that this sequence is a necessary sequence, that when you incarnate in an evolutionary moment when you are going to awaken, you still have to become somebody and become grounded on earth before you can do the spiritual work. ⁣⁣Part of the experience of living richly has been identification with the desires and emotions, with the passions of life, with the hatreds and the joys, with what I call the “mellow drama” of life. ⁣⁣Each of us has an intense drama going on around us. Will we, won’t we, can we, can’t we, should we, shouldn’t we? And with awakening one begins to see the way one has been trapped in one’s storyline. But it doesn’t mean the story ends. ⁣⁣The Ram Dass story is alive and well. The only question is, who’s living it?⁣”

Baba Ram Dass (1931 – 2019)

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