Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mankind is no Island

Please watch the video before reading the text below. Without a doubt, this is a "visual poem", and needs to be seen and heard, not just read. I've just reproduced the text from the video if you wish to study it afterwards, but the real power is in the video.

Mankind is no Island. (text taken from video)

This story is about two cities
divided by a great ocean
united by hope ... hunger

Through your eyes
our city is famous ... happy
You can feel the
I love Sidney
I love NY

But what is it we love today?
Do we love the people or the place?
Do we measure empathy by donations?


I walk by you today
I always look away


Well worn boots with
No standing
No standing
No standing
Do you reason with your condition?

Our city says
"we'll look after you"
your very own family
turn blind
when did you last see your

No fortune to indulge
No sunflower
No rainbow
No successful life


I walk by you today
I did not look away


A story around every corner
The gentle art of hearing
your truth
your thinking
your inner spirit
no different to me

This is Freedom?

Mankind is no island ...


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Mirage

You've all seen a mirage, right? Check it out -- it looks like the road just falls away or is covered with water. But we have come to learn that what we see with our eyes may fool us into believing something that isn't really there.

Take the current crisis in the Middle East. On both sides (Hamas and Israel) there are calculations and strategies, coupled with frustrations and the need to "do something". And on both sides, there are innocents caught in the middle of these actions. And yet, what each one sees, I fear, is but a mirage.

What is the root cause? The underlying reality that is masked by the mirage? I think it is this ... "do unto others as you wish them to do unto you" -- the Golden Rule, a version of which exists in all the great traditions.

Sure, Hamas was launching rockets into Israel. But Israel was placing severe restrictions on Gaza in the hopes of turning the people against Hamas. In both cases -- they were not doing unto others as they would have liked to have had done unto them. And yet, in a strange karmic-twist sort of way, they are in fact reaping what they sowed. Hamas in terms of the violence against Gaza, and Israel in terms of the negative press, and most certainly in the perpetuation of another generation of future Hamas fighters.

A person creates what they defend against.
-- Buddha

Prayer and love are learned
in the hour
when prayer becomes
..... impossible
and the heart has turned
..... to stone.

-- Thomas Merton
Mystic is what they call me.
Hate is my only enemy;
I harbor a grudge against none.
To me the whole wide world is one.

Whatever you wish for yourself
Wish for the others,
This is the meaning of the four books (Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Koran)
If there is any meaning.

- Yunus Emre, Turkish Medieval Humanist Mystic

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
-- Martin Luther King Jr., December 11, 1964

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Eye Am

This is the eye from an incredibly large and personable Belgian horse, that we met at a Quaker roadside store. We just loved visiting with him.

This photo of his "eye" made me think of this simple yet profound quote, which I think really does sum up how one should look at life:
So much fear and desire come from that commitment to 'I am' -- to being somebody. Eventually they take us to anxiety and despair; life seems much more difficult and painful than it really is.

But when we just observe life for what it is, then it's all right: the delights, the beauty, the pleasures are *just that*.
-- Ajahn Sumedho, "Seeing the Way"
Doesn't that really make sense. Avoid the attention on 'I am' -- your need to have an opinion, to have a plan, to be right -- and instead simply observe life with an openness, a willing expectancy, a freshness.

Life is so beautiful -- just as it is -- when you do that.

Give it a try. See if you can notice the difference in your experiences. See if you become a part of the flow.