I have been alone but seldom lonely.
I have satisfied my thirst
at the well of my self
and that wine was good,
the best I ever had,
and tonight, sitting,
staring into the dark
I now finally understand
the dark and the
light and everything
- Charles Bukowski
from Mind and Heart
"Thinking is hard work; few engage in it.
Natural Thinking. This is fluid and undirected, it wanders and meanders, is subject to repetition and generalizations. The sort of thinking that goes on when we don't think we're thinking.
Logical Thinking. This selects a route and follows it to its conclusion. With this approach the solution is largely predetermined, so if you head off in the wrong direction you can end up painting yourself into a corner.
Pattern Thinking. This confines thoughts to operate within given rules. Therefore solutions are limited by the possibilities available within the pattern.
Lateral Thinking. This is purposeful in intent without specific aim. Free-wheeling so it can reveal solutions which might have been overlooked in other approaches.
Grasshopper Thinking. Most of the time our thinking jumps around alternating and mixing between reasoning which adheres to measurable responses, and imagining which allows unpredictable currents to play around with data. Producing an electrico/chemical sludge."
- Edward de Bono
The Use of Lateral Thinking
"I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion - the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body - is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue."
"The Great way is not difficult. It just avoids picking and choosing." There is a Taoist flavor to this saying. The sense of following the water path through life. The water if it runs into a stone, it just makes its way around. The water is clear and has no attachments which is why we have a little bowl of water on the altar. Chao-chou has brought up this saying which he was very fond of and he often liked to bring it up. And then he said that as soon as we speak, that is picking and choosing. If we are clear, we hang onto the clarity. This old student doesn't even hang onto that. Do you still hang onto anything, or not? So we could say that the greatest method of meditation is that whatever comes up, just don't cling to it. Whatever comes up, let it go. If you can do this, you'll find the way home very quickly. But it's hard. Things stick to you."
1993 dharma talk
"Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
- André Gide
"One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance."
- G. K. Chesterton
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
- Edward Hirsch
The unspoiled colors of a late summer night,
The wind howling through lofty pines -
The feel of autumn approaching;
Swaying bamboos keep resonating,
Shedding tears of dew at dawn;
Only those who exert themselves fully
Will attain the Way.
But even if you abandon all for the ancient path of meditation,
You can never forget the meaning of sadness.
Open the book of evening to the page
where the moon, always the moon, appears
between two clouds, moving so slowly that hours
will seem to have passed before you reach the next page
where the moon, now brighter, lowers a path
to lead you away from what you have known
into those places where what you had wished for happens,
its lone syllable like a sentence poised
at the edge of sense, waiting for you to say its name
once more as you lift your eyes from the page
and close the book, still feeling what it was like
to dwell in that light, that sudden paradise of sound.
- Mark Strand
"There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be a time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does."
The Fault in Our Stars
Consider the Space Between Stars
between words on a page, not just
the margins around them.
Or the space between thoughts:
instants when the mind is inventing
exactly what it thinks
and the mouth waits
to be filled with language.
Consider the space
between lovers after a quarrel,
the white sheet a cold metaphor
Now picture the brief space
before death enters, hat in hand:
vanishing years, filled with light.
- Linda Pastan
"As human beings we've certainly suffered the loss of awe, the loss of sacredness, and the loss of the fact that we're not here - we're not put on earth - to shape it anyway we want.
- Derek Walcott
Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets
Not anyone who says, "I'm going to be
careful and smart in matters of love,"
who says, "I'm going to choose slowly,"
but only those lovers who didn't choose at all
but were, as it were, chosen
by something invisible and powerful and uncontrollable
and beautiful and possibly even
only those know what I'm talking about
in this talking about love.
- Mary Oliver
"In a culture based on the proliferation of choice, even one's outward appearance, whether or not you are conscious of it, whether or not you care, is interpreted by the public as a decision. Please do not misunderstand me: you may not have had a choice, but the public is going to assume you made one."
Madness, Rack, and Honey
"Aging is peculiar, I don't think you should be lied to about it. You have a moment of relevancy - when the books, clothes, bars, technology - when everything is speaking directly to you, expressing you exactly. You move toward the edge of the circle and then you're abruptly outside the circle. Now what to do with that? Do you stay, peering backward? Or do you walk away?"
- Stephanie Danler
The fist clenched round my heart
loosens a little, and I gasp
brightness; but it tightens
again. When have I ever not loved
the pain of love? But this has moved
past love to mania. This has the strong
clench of the madman, this is
gripping the ledge of unreason, before
plunging howling into the abyss.
Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.
- Derek Walcott
"Forgiveness is one of the really difficult things in life. The logic of receiving hurt seems to run in the direction of never forgetting either the hurt or the hurter. When you forgive, some deeper, divine generosity takes over. When you can forgive, then you are free. When you cannot forgive, you are a prisoner of the hurt done to you. If you are really disappointed in someone and you become embittered, you become incarcerated inside that feeling. Only the grace of forgiveness can break the straight logic of hurt and embitterment.
- John O'Donohue
some of my best friends are birds
Makers of words, this is your lullaby.
You are begotten of words,
and begotten, you beget.
Who planted this tongued root of love,
wriggling and warm, alone in the dark?
I will harvest its heartlessness: sweet sprout
and bitter blossom, the tonguelessness of grief.
Sometimes, the telling burns.
Sometimes, the teller.
So be it.
- LeighAnna Schesser
from Canticle of Philomela
"Once I witnessed a windstorm so severe two 100-year-old trees were uprooted on the spot. The next day, walking among the wreckage, I found the friable nests of birds, completely intact and unharmed on the ground. That the featherweight survive the massive, that this reversal of fortune takes place among us - that is what haunts me. I don't know what it means."
- Mary Ruefle
Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures