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Courage is not simply
one of the virtues
but the form of every virtue
at the testing point.
- C.S. Lewis
To a visitor who described himself as a seeker after Truth the Master
said, "If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have
above all else.""I know. An overwhelming passion for it.""No. An unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong."Anthony de Mello, SJ
MORSEL:Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart ...
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.~ Carl JungTom Hickcox ~ Awareness-TheWaytoLove
Iglesia del Espíritu Santo
Between the palms and cactus figs
a man is opening his cafe.
The boxer on his morning jog
crossing footprints of night refugees
as he is closing in on
Africa on the horizon.
The azure sky
The navy sea
Children picking pretty stones
on the shores below the mountains.
Emerald pines form small forests
along the narrow road
disappearing in the heat
like a black snake.
leading to the birthplace of the matador,
a headquarter of inquisition,
where I saw her on the wall,
in the small church
with the old lady at the door.
A red triangle and a child,
a golden triangle
both inside a ring of fire.
As night arrives
I see them both,
in the dark.
The mother holding the child in front of her,
like she wants to say:
Look at my precious child.
If you want to share a secret
I am giving it away.
photo and poem by Alan Larus
I am filled with amazement, joy and gratitude for this precarious
little point in time.
If I were to be fearful of all the things that could happen I could
live in constant anxiety.
If I were to live in mourning for all the terrible things that have
happened, are happening, I would suffer constantly.
Dylan Thomas said it best with his Refusal to Mourn the Death of a
Child by Fire in London. He said he would not murder the mankind of
her going with a grave truth. He said that after the first death there
is no other.
The spiritual truth includes great tragedy and great love in a
magnificence beyond either.
We are struck dumb by the magnitude of human suffering.
What we can say, how we can protest are weak things, raging at their
very impotence. The world flows on, perhaps not even the survival of
the fittest, maybe just the luckiest or the most blessed.
Yet there is within us, besides the knowledge of and the journey
towards death, the pure energy of life with its excitement and love.
Its childlike naiveté and its gray beard wisdom merge into the deepest
love and contemplation, the play of life entering into childhood and
surviving into old age like a beautiful velveteen rabbit.
I look into the eyes of my children, my grandchildren. Yes, all will
be well. We have nothing to fear. We all die eventually. The important
thing is to love and enjoy what we have here, now.
Copyright © 2004 by John MacEnulty
12/29/2004, St. Louis, MO
It's the birthday of American photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864), the most influential champion of photography in the 20th century. He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of a wealthy wool merchant. His father sent him to Berlin to study engineering. One day he was out for a walk and saw a camera in a shop window. He later said, "I bought it and carried it to my room and began to fool around with it. It fascinated me, first as a passion, then as an obsession."
Stieglitz wanted the world to consider photography a real art form. In 1905 he opened a gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City. There he displayed new photography as well as the work of a group of artists just emerging in France-Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Rodin, and others. In 1916, he showed some charcoal prints by a young painter named Georgia O'Keefe. The two began began a friendship that developed into romance. Eight years later they married. It was Stieglitz's second marriage; he was 60 and she was 37.
Stieglitz is famous for his series of 400 photographs of O'Keefe, often in the nude. He also loved to photograph cloud patterns and the every day world around him in New York City or his summer home in Lake George, New York.The Steerage, 1907
Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946)
© RPS, 1999 http://www.rps.org/book/stieglitz.html
Stieglitz took this famous photograph in 1907 on board a ship to Paris, when he caught sight of the steerage class passengers on the deck below him. The result, captured with the only unexposed plate he had available, is a very graphic image, made up of a series of shapes, linked with strong diagonals, and pivoting on the white boater of the young man in the upper half of the deck. Stieglitz often said that it was his best photograph.
One of Stieglitz's most famous prints shows immigrants on a ship's crowded steerage deck. Pablo Picasso said about the photo, "This is exactly what I have been trying to say in paint." Stieglitz said, "I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that, the feeling I had about life..."
Alfred Stieglitz was the first photographer to have his work shown by major art museums. He died on July 13, 1946, in New York City.
text from The Writer's Almanac, National Public Radio, for 1/1/05
The names of God and especially those of His representative
Who is called Jesus or Christ according to holy books and
These names have been used, worn out and left
On the shores of rivers of of human lives
Like the empty shells of a mollusk.
However when we touch these sacred but exhausted
Names, these wounded scattered petals
Which have come out of the oceans of love and fear
Something still remains, a sip of water,
A rainbow footprint that still shimmers in the light.
While the names of God were used
By the best and the worst, by the clean and the dirty
By the white and the black, by bloody murderers
And by victims flaming gold with napalm
While Nixon with his hands
Of Cain blessed those whom he condemned to death,
While fewer and fewer divine footprints were found
on the beach
People began to study colors,
The future of honey, the sign of uranium
They looked with anxiety and hope for the possibilities
Of killing themselves or not killing themselves, of organizing
themselves into a fabric
Of going further on, of breaking through limits without stopping
What we came across in these blood thirsty times
With their smoke of burning trash, their dead ashes
As we weren't able to stop looking
We often stopped to look at the names of God
We lifted them with tenderness because they reminded us
Of our ancestors, of the first people, those who said the prayers
Those who discovered the hymn that united them in misfortune
And now seeing the empty fragments which sheltered those
We feel those smooth substances,
Worn out and used up by good and by evil.
translated by Jodey Bateman
Zen Oleary ~ Allspirit
The Holy Now
"There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure
generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has
always been: a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent,
important, fearful and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote,
deceive and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee
misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discoloring idea that
rustic people knew God personally once upon a time -- or even knew
selflessness or courage or literature -- but that it is too late for
us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age.
There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.
There is no less holiness at this time -- as you are reading this --
than there was the day the Red Sea parted, or that day in the
thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month,
as Ezekiel was a captive by the river Chebar, when the heavens opened
and he saw visions of God. There is no whit less enlightenment under
the tree by your street than there was under the Buddha's bo tree.
There is no whit less might in heaven or on earth than there was the
day Jesus said "Maid, arise" to the centurion's daughter, or the day
Peter walked on water, or the night Mohammed flew to heaven on a
horse. In any instant the sacred may wipe you with its finger. In any
instant the bush may flare, your feet may rise, or you may see a
bunch of souls in a tree. In any instant you may avail yourself of
the power to love your enemies; to accept failure, slander, or the
grief of loss; or to endure torture.
Purity's time is always now. Purity is no social phenomenon, a
cultural thing whose time we have missed, whose generations are dead,
so we can only buy Shaker furniture. "Each and every day the Divine
Voice issues from Sinai," says the Talmud. Of eternal fulfillment,
Tillich said, "If it is not seen in the present, it cannot be seen at
--Annie Dillard, For the Time BeingNess ~ True Vision
Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad , Lakshman Sarma - v. 58-5958 Indifferent to the actual experience of the real Self, the sectarians affirm their dogmas with fanatical vehemence, saying There is a reality, There is none, It has a form, It is formless, It is one, It is twofold, It is neither.This is the substance of verse 34 of Ulladu Narpadu. All the main creeds are here briefly enumerated. Among these, even the advaitic doctrine is mentioned, to show that mere adherence to a doctrine, even though it is true, is useless. The last creed, It is neither, seems to be an intermediate creed between the advaitic and dvaitic, which is to the effect that the soul is different from God and yet part of God. These creeds are possible because of continuing ignorance and an indifference to the quest for the real Self.The disputants resort to logic in order to establish their own creeds as the true ones. But logic is inconclusive. This is stated in the following verse.59 There is no end to logical discussions, for logic does not come to rest anywhere. The supreme transcends the world. How can it become known by the logical mind?The truth of the supreme state is not within the scope of intellectual speculation. The sole authority for its nature and means of attainment is the actual experience of it by a sage. Logic can proceed only through facts given by worldly experience, which is tainted because its parent is the primary ignorance. Until one attains that state by the same experience, one has to rely on the authority of a competent Guru.Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths
Vol. 9 - No. 3
Produced & Edited by
Dr. Anil K. Sharma
Sadguru is within
By Arthur Osborne
Sri Maharshi was concerned rather with the practical work of training aspirants than with expounding theory. The theory had importance, but only as a basis for practice. The devotees had the freedom of argument with Sri Bhagavan. There were, however, some who desired a definite statement that Sri Bhagavan was a Guru, but this he would not make. When a devotee pressed him once more for a confirmation, he turned to the attendant and said humorously: 'Let him get a document from the sub-registrar and take it to the office and get the office stamp on it!'
In the following conversation, taken from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, he implied clearly enough that he was to be regarded as the visible Guru. By Guru, Bhagavan always meant Sadguru and that too in its highest meaning as nothing less than one who has realized his identity with the Self and abides therein constantly. It may be said by some that the doctrine of God manifested as Guru was all right for those who had the good fortune to meet Bhagavan in his lifetime, but what of those who seek a Guru now? It will be recalled that Bhagavan confirmed that the Guru need not necessarily be in human form. He himself had no human Guru. Just as, with Self-enquiry, he created a new path suitable to the conditions of the modern world, a path that can be followed without any outward forms, invisibly, while conforming to the outer conditions of modern life, so also he brought to men the possibility of silent, formless initiation, requiring no physical Guru. He often confirmed that the truest upadesa was by silence only. Ramana Sadguru's silence is all-powerful even now.
Devotee: Can Sri Bhagavan help us to realize the Truth?
Bhagavan: Help is always there.
D.: Then there is no need to ask questions. I do not feel the ever-present help.
B.: Surrender and you will find it.
D.: I am always at your feet. Will Bhagavan give us some Upadesa to follow? Otherwise how can I get the help living 600 miles away?
M.: That Sadguru is within.
D.: Sadguru is necessary to guide me to understand it.
M.: That Sadguru is within.
D.: I want a visible Guru.
M.: That visible Guru says that He is within.
D.: Can I throw myself at the mercy of the Sadguru?
M.: Yes. Instructions are necessary only so long as one has not surrendered oneself.
Maharshi: The highest form of Grace is SILENCE. It is also the highest spiritual instruction.... All other modes of instruction are derived from silence and are therefore secondary. Silence is the primary form. If the Guru is silent the seeker's mind gets purified by itself.
It must be remembered that verbal explanations are not the real teaching; they are preliminary explanations which are easy to understand but whose understanding does not in itself enlighten the heart. The real work is the awakening of Self-awareness in the heart, and this is made possible by the powerful yet subtle action of the silent Grace of the Guru.
- Reprinted from the January, 1971 Mountain Path
Michael Bindel ~ MillionPaths