Monday, November 12

"You should go home to your hermitage; it is inside you. Close the doors, light the fire, and make it cozy again. That is what I call 'taking refuge in the island of self.' If you don't go home to yourself, you continue to lose yourself. You destroy yourself and you destroy people around you, even if you have goodwill and want to do something to help. That is why the practice of going home to the island of self is so important. No one can take your true home away."
 - Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, November 11

"At the age of twenty-nine Gautama slipped away from his palace in the middle of the night, leaving behind his family and possessions. He traveled as a homeless vagabond throughout northern India, searching for a way out of suffering. He visited ashrams and sat at the feet of gurus but nothing liberated him entirely - some dissatisfaction always remained. He did not despair. He resolved to investigate suffering on his own until he found a method for complete liberation. He spent six years meditating on the essence, causes and cures for human anguish. In the end he came to the realization that suffering is not caused by ill fortune, by social injustice, or by divine whims. Rather, suffering is caused by the behavior patterns of one's own mind. Gautama's insight was that no matter what the mind experiences, it usually reacts with craving, and craving always involves dissatisfaction. When the mind experiences something distasteful it craves to be rid of the irritation. When the mind experiences something pleasant, it craves that the pleasure will remain and will intensify. Therefore, the mind is always dissatisfied and restless. This is very clear when we experience unpleasant things, such as pain. As long as the pain continues, we are dissatisfied and do all we can to avoid it. Yet even when we experience pleasant things we are never content. We either fear that the pleasure might disappear, or we hope that it will intensify. People dream for years about finding love but are rarely satisfied when they find it. Some become anxious that their partner will leave; others feel that they have settled cheaply, and could have found someone better. And we all know people who manage to do both."
 - Yuval Noah Harari

Saturday, November 10

It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

The rising wind pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
wheeling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and lifting above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.
 - Jeffrey Harrison

Friday, November 9

It's All Right
Someone you trusted has treated you bad.
Someone has used you to vent their ill temper.
Did you expect anything different?
Your work - better than some others' - has languished,
neglected. Or a job you tried was too hard,
and you failed. Maybe weather or bad luck
spoiled what you did. That grudge, held against you
for years after you patched up, has flared,
and you've lost a friend for a time. Things
at home aren't so good; on the job your spirits
have sunk. But just when the worst bears down
you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon,
and outside at work a bird says, "Hi!"
Slowly the sun creeps along the floor;
it is coming your way. It touches your shoe.
 - William Stafford

Thursday, November 8

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
 - Howard Zinn
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
other notebooks are available
antifaschistische aktion 90210

Wednesday, November 7

"The important thing is allowing the whole world to wake up. Part of allowing the whole world to wake up is recognizing that the whole world is free - everybody is free to be as they are. Until the whole world is free to agree with you or disagree with you, until you have given the freedom to everyone to like you or not like you, to love you or hate you, to see things as you see them or to see things differently - until you have given the whole world its freedom - you'll never have your freedom."
 - Adyashanti
The End of Your World

Monday, November 5

"What a joyful sense of freedom we have when Vitruvius announces the old opinion of artists that no architect can build any house well who does not know something of anatomy. When Socrates, in Charmides, tells us that the soul is cured of its maladies by certain incantations, and that these incantations are beautiful reasons, from which temperance is generated in souls; when Plato calls the world an animal, and Timaeus affirms that the plants also are animals; or affirms a man to be a heavenly tree, growing with his root, which is his head, upward;(...)"
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson
the vale of soul-making

Sunday, November 4

The pond is feathered, grey-backed, moving north.
Nothing can hold it.
The fat little saint in the garden prays only
for a paint-job.
Flickers and downies contend at the feeder.
Is this a world in good order?

A red-winged blackbird grates on the world's nerves -
another of the saints of repetition.
This is not a day
to ask after the gardener.

If Earth is perfected,
it is in its cycles, its seasons, its relentless
as Time is perfected in the saint's plaster leprosy,
the scabbed mud of the shoreline,
the pile of lobbed limbs
in the hollow.

As for the geese, they've turned to alchemy,
depositing green tubes underfoot, vials
the winds will powder and carry
down to the water.

Drink, and be whole again.

As light sinks, the waters,
resistant to the world's thirst, stiffen
beneath a glinting shield.
Still, the deer bend to whatever is on offer.
The saints, too, are making do
with gold.
Hard on a throat, gold.
Who would dare to ask after
the gardener?

The pond is flying north against
all natural law,
dragging the dead,
and whatever is un-rooted, uprooted,
See how the waters have broken
into scales, red in the last light, silver
where the moon

touches, troughs, touches.

With sunrise and the washing
of heaven's flesh in risen mist, ask:
Is this a world in good order?

Ask again. Tomorrow
is the only answer, every sacred
dying cell of it.
 - Marjorie Stelmach

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov