“What transforms this world is — knowledge. Do you see what I mean? Nothing else can change anything in this world. Knowledge alone is capable of transforming the world, while at the same time leaving it exactly as it is. When you look at the world with knowledge, you realize that things are unchangeable and at the same time are constantly being transformed.”
~ Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
“So many things to do, I’m always rushing ’round
I wish that I had time to just sit still
I’ll get done all the things I need to do today
I promise then I’ll stop a while, I will
And so I start to tackle the list of chores I made
I’ll make this house look really spick and span
I’ll tidy up and wash the floor and vac and dust as well
Clean the bathrooms, clean the house – I know I can
A friend rings up. She’s feeling down. She wants to come around
She asks if I have time to talk a while
I stop to make a coffee and lend a listening ear
I have nothing to give except my smile
Then, when she’s feeling better and she knows that she’s been heard
She thanks me and then she goes on her way
I look around my house and continue with my chores
For I am going to get somewhere today
The telephone then rings. My son’s teacher’s on the phone
She wants me to come down and get him now
I go down to the school and I bring my sick child home
I’ll clean this house up later on somehow
And later when the kids are home; ‘Mum, I need to talk’
And so I stop to listen for a while
My daughter tells me how she feels, she opens up her heart
Then, when she knows I’ve heard her, she can smile
When the night has come, I wonder, ‘what did I achieve?’
And, then I look back on all I have done
The house is still not tidy and there’s still so much to do
Just like it was when I had first begun
But, then I stop and realize my priorities are right
For when someone’s in need then, I am there
I give to them the time they need and help them where I can
I let them know how much I really care
For when the years have passed and my kids have all moved out
They will feel the love and warmth I had to give
And I know that they’ll remember the lessons that they learned
In self-worth and in how they choose to live”
~ Michelle Tetley
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”
“Honesty is reached by the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, our world, or our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are born to be afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed even by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are but one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.
The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we want to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.
Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who ultimately, is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not protection; honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where we are given no choice between gain or loss.”
– David Whyte
“Serving the truth comes down simply to living life from the place of positive intentions. It means doing the right thing even when everything and everyone in society is telling you to ignore, suppress, or abandon the path of nonviolence, understanding and care.”
~ Noah Levine
“The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”
~ David Whyte from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Friendship”
For the last forty three years, I’ve had the gift of living with my best friend and love. It only seems like yesterday in a small adobe building in Lincoln, New Mexico, with a small group of friends standing in a circle, celebrating our unity. Happy anniversary to my love.
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark.
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
~ William Shakespeare, 1609