Radical

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

 I was sometimes called a ‘radical’ during the wild 1960’s, but now, at the young-old age of 80, I’m gaining a fresh sense of radicalism. I’m seeing, more and more, how truly radical all of life is – how absolutely revolutionary each and every moment is. The word ‘radical’ derives from the Latin word ‘radix’, meaning ‘root’, and it is a wonderful fact that every present moment springs out of the one and only – and infinite – root of all of reality. Using another meaning of ‘radical’, each moment today will, because of its absolute newness, be thorough and comprehensive, a totally ‘radical’ expression of life. Though I may not always realize it, each and very thought that arises in me will be fresh and far-reaching, a ‘radical’ way of seeing life, and all the various events that happen will be exhaustive and wide-ranging. Like all days, this seemingly ordinary December 30 will actually be a profound revolution – an extensive and drastic revision of everything. This ostensibly commonplace winter day will actually be a zealot, an extremist carrying the flag of revolution and renewal – and I know an 80-year-old radical who will be helping to carry it!  



IN INNATE

In Innate, New Hampshire,
a simple sort of happiness 
seems to be an inherited quality. 
Contentment comes naturally to people here, 
and a gentle joy 
appears to be congenital in everyone. 
People here take pride 
in a very natural feeling of fulfillment
and in a deep-seated delight in life.
Serenity seems almost instinctive, 
as if it’s the only sensible way to live. 
Sure, there’s sometimes disappointment and sorrow here, 
but folks are usually at ease with it,
as if they know it’s an essential part of life 
and can show them fresh horizons.
In this little town, 
love is elemental, 
and having fun is just 
part of the family.  

 
 
“Bluebird Day – Stowe, VT”, oil on panel by Sara Gray

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

FINITE AND INFINITE

         It’s so easy for me to fall back into the belief that life, and everything in it, is completely finite. I spend many hours each day lost in the dream of limitation. I usually see myself as a small, isolated, easily definable ‘object’ in a universe packed with countless similar, separate ‘things’, all bumping against each other with warnings to stay clear. Obviously, it’s an unsettling way to live, and yet I must honestly say that’s it’s been my mode of thinking on most days for most of the years of my life. Fortunately, though, in the last 30+ years I’ve been able to catch marvelous glimpses (though short-lived) of another view of life, one that sets aside all boundaries and presents a life that’s unreservedly boundless, and therefor unreservedly free. In this view, I can see, with joy and relief, the absolute togetherness of everything – no separations whatsoever, just simple and everlasting inseparableness and companionship. I see then that I am a breeze in the fathomless wind of the universe, a ripple in the measureless ocean called ‘life’. When I have this wonderful view – when it comes to me, I should say, as it has this afternoon – all fears and concerns somehow settle down into immeasurable spaciousness,  and life lifts me up as easily as winds lift the limbs of trees. 

IN INFINITE, FL

In Infinite, Florida,
residents say their minds seem boundless,
as if inside them 
a limitless range of secret skies
continuously spreads out. 
Their lives feel like 
panoramas of uncountable possibilities,
and they know their futures 
are as unfathomable
as bottomless oceans.  
One man said life 
left him innumerable gifts each day,
so great that he often 
held his arms up in astonishment. 
A woman said
her satisfaction was enormous, 
as inestimable as the sunset, 
and then she shouted 
and pointed to a sunset 
that she said was as huge  
as her happy life. 




Here we are on a walk yesterday morning on Napatree Beach in Watch Hill, RI …

And here’s a slide show of some scenes from our walk this morning in Elm Grove Cemetery …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

CAUSE            

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 see much 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 
big neighborliness, 
the kind the citizens see 
all around them - 
among breezes, and butterflies, 
and snowflakes in December, 
everything in Spark 
somehow producing 
more peacefulness, 
more harmony, 
even inside sickness, 
where harmony sways and whirls 
and helps the sickness feel fulfilled 
and ready to fade away.