Sunday, 26 April 2015
We understand many things about this world, but we don’t understand ourselves. So why do human beings come into this world? Why do we live in this world? For love? For money? For respect or fame? Do you live for your wife, husband, or children? Why do you live in this world? If someone asked you these questions, you might very well answer. “I live for my children. I live to earn enough money for them, or maybe just to have a good life.” Most people think like this. They live only for their family, for some fleeting social respectability, perhaps to enjoy art or to get some powerful position. Everyone wants to have a good situation for themselves. If you look at this world very closely, it is easy to see that most people eat and sleep and live merely for their own happiness. Yet these things are not the real purpose of human beings’ life. They are just temporary means for living in the world. If human beings cannot find out who they are, how can they ever truly be happy?
Thursday, 23 April 2015
How I go to the woods
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
How beautiful you are, Earth, and how sublime!
What wisdom in your obedience to the light, and what nobility in your submission to the sun!
How seductive you are when veiled in shadow and how radiant is your face beneath the mask of darkness!
How crystalline are your songs at dawn and how marvelous are the praises sung at the hour of your twilight!
How perfect you are, Earth, and how majestic!
I have crossed your plains and climbed your mountains; I have gone down into your valleys and entered your caves.
On the plains I have discovered your dreams, on the mountains I have admired your splendid presence.
And in the valleys I have observed your tranquility; among the rocks I have felt your firmness; in the caves I have touched your mysteries.
You who are relaxed in your strength, haughty in your modesty, humble in your arrogance, gentle in your resistance, limpid in your secrets.
I have crossed your seas, explored your rivers, and walked the banks of your streams.
I have heard Eternity speak through your ebb and flow and the ages return the echoes of your melodies over your hillsides.
And I have heard Life calling to itself in your mountain passes and along your valley slopes.
You are the tongue and lips of Eternity, the cords and fingers of Eternity, the thoughts and words of Life.
Your Spring awoke me and led me towards your forests, where your breathing exhales in the distance its sweet perfume in spirals of incense.
Your Summer invited me into your fields to be present at your labor, at the birth of your jewel-like fruits.
Your Autumn showed me, in your vineyards, your blood running like wine.
Your winter took me into its bed where your purity broadcasts its flakes of snow.
You are fragrance when young, force when growing, magnificence in middle life, and with the ice of old age, you are crystal.
On a starry night I opened the lock-gates of my soul and went out to be at your side, with a curious and hungry heart. And I saw you looking at the stars which were smiling at you.
Then I cast off my chains and shackles, for I discovered that the lodging of the soul is your universe, that its desires grow within yours, that its peace dwells within your peace, and that its joy lies in that long hair of stars that the night spreads over your body.
One misty night, weary of idle dreaming, I went to meet you. And you appeared to me like a giant armed with furious tempests, fighting the past by means of the present, overturning the old to the advantage of the new, and letting the strong scatter the weak.
In this way, I learned that the law of Man is your law. I learned that he who does not break up his branches dried out by his own tempest will die of indifference. And he who does not rebel to make his own dead leaves fall will perish from indolence.
Immense are your gifts, Earth, and deep are your groans; long too are the languishing of your heart for your children who have been led astray by their greed on the path of their truth.
We cry out to each other, and you smile.
We go astray, and you pay the penalty for us.
We soil things, and you sanctify.
And we blaspheme, and you bless.
We sleep without ever dreaming, and you dream in your eternal wakefulness. We speak to you while piercing your breast with swords and lances, and you heal our wound-like words with the scented oil of your waters.
We sow our bones and skulls in the palm of your hand, and you make willows and cypresses grow. We store our refuse and excrement within your caves and you fill our attics and taverns. We disfigure you with our blood and you wash our hands in the Eden river. We dissect your entrails in order to extract cannon and rockets from them, and from our bones you create the lily and dew.
Earth, you are long-suffering and magnanimous.
And the Earth cries out to the soil:
"I am the womb and sepulcher and I shall remain thus until the stars fade away and the sun turns into ashes."
Khalil Gibran, The Eye of the Prophet
Saturday, 18 April 2015
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?
Friday, 17 April 2015
He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones "it’s" rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who don't reply when they are asked something they do know,
Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Whatever people do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, or officers of the government, let them put their whole heart into the task; let them be diligent and energetic. And if, like the lotus flower, which grows out of muddy water but remains untouched by the mud, they engage in life without cherishing envy or hatred; if they live in the world not a life of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds.
Friday, 10 April 2015
The very softest thing of all
can ride like a galloping horse
through the hardest of things.
Like water, like water penetrating rock.
And so the invisible enters in.
That is why I know it is wise
to act by doing nothing.
And how few, how very few understand this!
People teach in the world
what I know to be true:
if you live violently
that is how you will die.
Tao Te Ching