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It was Rabbi Hillel, in the first century BCE, who wrote these poignant words:
"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?"
"Do you think a leaf that falls to the ground is afraid of death? Do you think a bird lives in fear of dying? It meets death when death comes, but is not concerned about death; it is much too occupied with living, with catching insects, building a nest, singing a song, flying for the very joy of flying. Have you ever watched birds soaring high up in the air without a beat of their wings, being carried along by the wind? How endlessly they seem to enjoy themselves! They are not concerned about death. If death comes, it is all right, they are finished. There is no concern about what is going to happen; they are living from moment to moment, are they not? It is we human beings who are always concerned about death - because we are not living. That is the trouble: we are dying, we are not living ."
-J Krishnamurti 'Think on These Things'
He who sees everything as nothing but the self and the self in everything he sees, such a seer withdraws from nothing, For the enlightened all that exists is nothing but the self, so how could any suffering or delusion continue for those who know this oneness?
-ISHA UPANISHAD, The Upanishads Trans Sheerer and Russell. Harper and Row. London 1978
What is life? It is the flash of the firefly in the night. It is the breath of the buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
-Last words of Crowfoot of the Blackfoot tribe. Touch the earth. T.C. Mc Luithan. Abacus. London 1986
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
-tract from The Heart Aroused by David Whyte
The Guest House
This human being is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected vision. Welcome and entertain them all. Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honourably. He may be cleaning out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame. the malice meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent, as a guide from beyond.
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again, Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination. calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting- over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
-from 'Wild Geese' Mary Oliver
True love will always commit itself and engage in lasting ties; it needs freedom only to effect its choice, not for its accomplishment. Every true and deep love is a sacrifice. The lover sacrifices all other possibilities, or rather, the illusion that such possibilities exist. If this sacrifice is not made, his illusions prevent the growth of any deep and responsible feeling, so that the possibility of experiencing real love is denied him.
Tao Te Ching
Better stop short than fill to the brim.
Over-sharpen the blade and the edge will soon blunt.
A store of gold and jade, and no one can protect it.
Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.
Retire when the work is done.
This is the way of heaven.
-Tao Te Ching (Nine) Gia -Fu Feng and Jane English Wildwood, London 1976
Whatever you can do or dream you can,do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
-Goethe quoted from 'The Scottish Himalayan Expedition 1951'
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops--- at all.
A little bit of Zen
A student at Tassajara sat facing Suzuki Roshi on a tatami mat in his room. The student said he couldn't stop snacking In the kitchen and asked what he should do. Suzuki reached under his table .Here have some Jelly beans he said
-From ˜To shine one corner of the world™ moments with Suzuki Roshi Broadway Books, New York