"To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle." — Walt Whitman
Month: September 2021
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, September 30, 2021
I find it strangely comforting. even uplifting, to realize that I will never fully understand the cause of anything. With each passing year, it has become more clear to me that the universe is a place of unlimited and unfathomable mystery, a puzzle far too complicated for me – or anyone – to solve. The origin of each thought, each action, each event is lost in infinite obscurity. I often ask myself: Where did this thought come from? Why is this occurrence happening right here and now? Where did this feeling come from? None of these questions will ever have answers, and that realization – surprisingly – brings me comfort and inspiration. I breathe a sigh of relief to know that all searching is done. I no longer have to constantly root around in life looking for reasons and causes, because I understand now that reality – life – is a shoreless, bottomless sea, where there are no beginnings or endings, where everything is a cause of everything else, and where, therefore, everything flows together in harmony. Of course, I often don’t seemuch harmony in this terribly troubled world of ours, but today I rest in the assurance that it is always there – underneath and within whatever is happening. I take comfort in that understanding, the way I would take comfort in swimming in an endless, compassionate ocean. Of course, I must always work hard to unveil the hidden harmony in life, and to help others see it, but it is definitely there. I will never know the cause of anything, but in this vast and marvelous ocean called life, I don’t need to. I just need to keep swimming and watching for the harmony that’s always arising.
CAUSES AND EFFECTS
(In Spark SD,USA)
In Spark, South Dakota,
dawn seems to always call forth friendliness,
and mid-morning makes it easy
to be sincere.
Even coffee is an occasion for kindness,
and the simplest words can spark off
the flames of affection.
HIgh winds work the magic
of amazement among the citizens,
but also engender the gentleness
that’s needed in times of storms.
Big sorrow always brings on
the kind the citizens see
all around them -
among breezes, and butterflies,
and snowflakes in December,
everything in Spark
even inside sickness,
where harmony sways and whirls
and helps the sickness feel fulfilled
and ready to fade away.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
I’m fairly good at doing, but not so good at being. I’m almost always doing something, but rarely aware of being – but today I hope to make a change. To ‘be’ is to be present right here and right now, always, and that’s my challenge for today. I want to ‘be’ fully available in each moment, ready to feel the full influence of the eternal present. The phenomenon called ‘Hamilton Salsich’ occurs, in a brand new way, over and over each moment, and I want to be entirely present to observe and enjoy the vastness and mystery of myself. Actually, whether I’m aware of it or not, I will always be carefully positioned right in the center of the present, so why not take pleasure in that? I really have no choice today: I must be – and stay – precisely in the present, and I hope to reap the incredible benefits of that simple fact.
Notice the way stars
seem to rustle
when you see them
from a field.
Find the place
where sunsets disappear,
and visit it
when you're sad.
Listen to the breezes
when they organize themselves
and sing together.
And keep your eyes
on other faces.
Notice the kindness
that often blossoms
like crowds of flowers
in these faces.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
It will be wonderful to hold in thought today that life is always chock-full of chances. There are endless possibilities in each moment, each one an opportunity for me to experience a miracle. Absolutely anything is feasible today, from a sparrow shaking its wings in special ways, to a super-new idea dancing into my mind, to the descending of raindrops never before seen on earth. All the moments today will be gambles of the finest kind, leaps in the adorable darkness of the universe. Unforeseen windows of opportunity will constantly be opening. Today I will take part in thousands of lotteries, and will always win, and the prizes will be plentiful. I can take risk-free chances over and over again today, smiling as I foresee the flow of bewildering rewards.
She loves finding fragments of pleasure.
Happiness is made simple in her hands --
a smile from a stranger,
the silence of a book before she opens it,
a lily leaning toward her in the garden.
Sometimes she finds reassurance
in a single stray sentence,
or in a word
that separates itself from a sentence
and stands up
like something she should listen to.
On mornings made of blessings,
thoughts thrown out like yesterday's trash
will glitter for her
like pieces of gold.
You can come to her
with just crumbs of kindness,
and she will be satisfied.
We saw these lovely deer on the rail trail bike path yesterday, and – lucky for me – they inspired a poem …
BASIC AND BEAUTIFUL
Two deer doing the simple things -
standing on homespun grass,
giving hunger some gifts,
finding the simplicity that's always shining,
even in old leaves,
even in old bike riders
with 80-year-old ease and unfussiness,
like two deer daring to be workaday deer,
just basic and beautiful.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, September 27, 2021
I have spent far too much time worrying about amounts. Do I have a large enough amount of money? How much patience do I have? Will it be enough? What will be the amount of happiness in my life today? What’s the current quantity of positive forces in my life? How much? How many? How much? How many? On and on and on and on. It will be fun today to fully understand, and hold in thought, that all the important things in life are without boundaries – infinite – and therefore immeasurable and uncountable. I don’t need to worry about how much wealth or happiness or patience I will have, because all of those are already limitless in my life. I am literally overflowing – at all times and beyond measuring – with gifts like goodness and satisfaction. There is no way to calculate the amount of peacefulness that is always present with me, ready to offer its services. While observing the Grand Canyon from its rim, would we worry about ‘how much’ beauty is present? Why lose sleep over amounts, when boundlessness is always everywhere?
FILLED UP FULL
(Bernice D., 61, Blessings, CT)
At 6:17 on October 10,
she tried to find something in her life
that was not filled up full,
but she failed in the task.
She saw that her wine glass was full,
and that the room was filled up with light,
and then, in a flash, she found the truth
that that particular moment,
was as full as it could possibly be.
She saw that
if she tried to add something to that moment,
it would instantly be the next moment,
and would also be positively brimful.
Plus, she saw that
great crowds of kind and courageous thoughts
filled up her inner life,
though she usually didn’t know it
because she had always believed
she was small inside
and could only hold
a small amount of things like love and daring,
but on this stuffed and bursting evening
she saw that all of life was awash with possibilities,
chockablock with beautiful chances,
and so she decided to take them all,
and to appreciate
this constant and blissful congestion,
laugh a lot more.
Yesterday, we took a beautiful early walk along the shore in Noank (CT), and came upon these stunning scenes:
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, September 26, 2021
All day today, there will be a wondrous arrival: the present moment. I will continuously see the appearance of something never seen before – a brand-new guest called ‘here and now’. It will be like the surfacing of a miracle, over and over again – a sunrise inside each moment, a new dawn at 5:05:01 and 5:05:02 and 5:05:03. I hope I am ready to greet each arrival, and ready to be astonished.
And … I hope I can feel youthfulness throughout the moments of this day, because it will definitely be there. Each of my approximately 57,000 waking moments today will be spry and sprightly, born brand-new right here and now. There couldn’t possibly be anything ‘old’ all day , because each and every moment will have never existed before. No one will have ever seen 8:42 a.m., September 26, 2021, before it unfolds later this morning, and the same is true for all the other moments of this fresh-faced day. Each one will appear in the springtime of its life, full of child-like vitality. I truly cannot escape from this continuous sparkle of creation today – and, anyway, who would want to escape from continuous, state-of-the art, and full-of-life paradise?
ONE DAY A WOMAN AWOKE
a woman awoke to see
that she actually lived in a land
overflowing with a different kind
of affluence, for hovering
around her, she now saw,
were limitless riches,
but in the form of friendliness
and generosity and gentleness.
As far as she could see,
treasures like kindness and
unselfishness were fanned out
and free for the taking.
She asked her husband to help her
gather them, but then they saw
these gifts were flowing freely
into their lives, so they
relaxed and just laughed
and let them arrive.
Today, I want to appreciate what life gives me moment by moment. The word ‘appreciate’ derives from the Latin word for ‘price’, and so to appreciate means to understand the price, or value, of something. Since we’re planning to sell our house sometime fairly soon, Delycia and I often talk about its value – what price we can set on it -, but what about the value of the precious daily occurrences in my life? Do I fully appreciate the value of each breath that comes to my lungs? of each thought that arises inside me? of feelings that flow through me moment by moment? of the swirl of our soft curtains as I sit at my desk on this warm September morning? Indeed, there is no way to set a price on these occurrences, because they are priceless. Their value is absolutely inestimable, as is the value of the friendship Delycia and I enjoy, and the value of sunshine, and September rain, and books on an old man’s bookshelf. It’s impossible to set a price on these miracles in my life, but at least I should make an attempt – at least do my best to appreciate them. After all, I’m surrounded, and filled, each moment, by wonders worth more than many millions of dollars.
a man suddenly understood
how prosperous he was.
His thoughts, for instance, were thriving,
throwing themselves around like lightning bolts
from faraway, and his feelings
were flourishing inside him,
where they were as numerous and as spirited
as stars in the sky.
He saw that his heart was very successful,
producing profitable results through his body,
and that his old lungs were more lucrative than ever,
yielding profit-making freshness moment by moment.
on this burgeoning day,
that he was wealthy beyond belief.
He was beyond well-off
in his ability to wonder and welcome and appreciate,
and was opulent in his capacity to say please and thanks.
Oh, and he also saw
that he had substantial wealth
Here are two best friends pausing yesterday on a lovely bike ride on the Kingston (RI) rail trail …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Life is always ebullient. The problem is that I am not often aware of it. I go through my days as if life is more like a miserable mess than a high-spirited jaunt. Today, leaves will be rustling in vivacious ways in the trees in our yard, sunshine will be brushing lawns and houses on our street in wondrous ways, my heart will be falling and rising in lovely rhythms – and yet I’ll probably, at least some of the time, be lost in wandering, worrisome thoughts. It’s like living in a beautiful home on the rim of the Grand Canyon, and yet never really noticing the sparkling beauties of the canyon. Every present moment today will be, in a very real way, enthusiastic to give me countless new gifts – new breath, new sights, new sounds, new thoughts, new feelings – and I just hope I can stay alert and graciously receive these moment-by-moment gifts. Yes, there may be sadness and even sorrow in the coming hours, but even then, the natural buoyancy in life can keep me afloat and free right in the center of the troubles. Even in my darkest times, winds will still be exuberant, light will still glow and gleam, and hearts – including my own – will still irrepressibly beat. I just have to wake up and be aware of this endless enthusiasm of the amazing marvel called ‘life’.
Bobby L., 37, Blessings CT
He continuously sees spontaneity -
in the enthusiastic swirls of his thoughts,
in the way rhododendron leaves leap
and tremble in winter’s winds, in
the blustering words he hears in stores.
The blueness of skies in all seasons
seems almost impulsive, as if fresh
azure colors are constantly being created
above him. Spontaneity enables all things
in his life to live in a flexible way - stable,
but always blowing and tumbling - durable,
but humbly able to rumble and roll,
like the thoughts that are always
happily jumbling inside him
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
There is only one truly irresistible force in my life – the eternal present. Other powers come and go, arise and disappear, seem strong and then dwindle down, but the present is always irrepressibly steady. It’s constantly and permanently right here, right now. There’s no way for me to escape from the Present. (The uppercase ‘P’ seems appropriate.) And if it’s always here, then it’s infinite – without boundaries, limitless. There’s no place where the Present doesn’t exist and have power. The past and future may seem to have separate, persuasive existences, but the truth is that nothing exists – or has power – but the inexorable Present. No doubt it would be good for me to stop resisting this unavoidable, imperative force. It is right here, right now, in all its enchanting ways. The compelling Present is holy ground. Perhaps, like Moses (Exodus 3:5), I should take off my shoes.
FINDING THE PRESENT
a man found the present.
It had prepared itself for him
by holding its usual lights
in its lighthearted way,
and waving to him
like it loved him,
as it always has.
He held its hand,
and all of life
lifted up and let itself loose
inside him and out to the stars.
He stood in silence
and a new and endless sky spread out,
and then another,
* below, a scene from Delycia’s garden yesterday – a sparrow atop a sedum blossom, while St. Francis quietly contemplates the birdbath *
And some scenes from a lovely walk yesterday on the Beebe Pond Trail in Groton …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
In these days of apparent worldwide disorder and skepticism, my goal is to be trusting. After all, I am part of an infinite universe that has been unfolding beautiful miracles for billions of years, so why shouldn’t I step back, set aside my personal wishes and preferences, and trust this miraculous universe to proceed with its plans? I guess I need to be more childlike – more willing to simply stare in wonder at the amazing mysteries that disclose themselves each moment. I want to be an ingenuous 79-year-old guy who gives his complete trust to whatever happens. This doesn’t mean I will always like what happens, or that I will weakly stand aside and let hardship have its day. On the contrary, trusting the universe means standing – and staying – right in the center of whatever’s happening, thereby finding the cease-fire and victory that is always available in every situation, no matter how grim. The truth is that ‘I’ don’t really have to do anything today, since this inestimable universe of ours will be doing everything that needs to be done – giving me new breath each moment, new feelings and thoughts, new and spectacular scenes to see, new adventures to share in. I should be wide-eyed with wonder all day as the shoreless and imperious river of the universe tirelessly moves me along.
BE AND LET AND TRUST
(Andy H., 70, Blessings, CT)
the universe works well
without his help.
The trees in winds can work their waves
and bends with no input from him,
and clouds float soft and light
without his crackerjack advice.
Good breath lifts up his lungs
with ease and poise,
and he’s amazed
to feel them rise and fall.
he never has to take control,
since life does all the work.
He only has to be,
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, September 20, 2021
This day – like all days – will be talented beyond measure. Indeed, I might want to simply stare in astonishment, all day long, at the brilliant accomplishments of each moment. Take the skillfulness of my eyes, for instance. In some miraculous ways, they are able to reveal marvelous scenes to me moment by moment. Right now, at 4:27 a.m., my old but somehow always newly gifted eyes are allowing me to see my small desk and yellow notes and one blue-and-white pen and one yellow pencil and scattered specks of dust – a scene that blind people would fall on their knees to praise if they could suddenly see it. And then there’s the masterly work of my ears. How can I even begin to appreciate the first-rate work they do in bringing beautiful sounds into my life each moment. Today – all day – I will hear the simple but sensational sounds of everyday life – gurgles and bubbles and wheezes and clicks and rattles and hisses – and I hope I can give them the attentiveness and thankfulness they deserve. Even as semi-deaf as I seem to be at 79, my still artistic ears will give me gifts of sound all day today. Even now, as I sit at my desk and type, I am blessed by the smooth rolling and tumbling and swishing sounds of the clothes washer performing its early-morning services. How did a grizzled old guy get so lucky?
Listen up, this light-hearted day says,
and you'll hear the harmonies
of thoughts as they sing inside you,
and the songs of water from faucets,
and the winsome sounds
of soft shoes on carpets.
Listen up, this daring day says,
and let the blessed sounds
of the melodies of cars passing
and praising the streets
prepare you for steady celebration.
Listen up, this gracious day says,
for your lovely lungs
are welcoming the music of breathing
into your lucky life.