If Life Were A Poem, Light & Benediction

by Bernadette Miller (Jul 18, 2014)

SUNflower-BernieIf Life Were A Poem

If life were a poem
to the Universe,
I would find beauty
in the saying
of the darkest sorrows
and the arms of my night
would overflow
with stars.

If life were a poem
to the divine,
I would find heaven
in recesses
of doubt
and compassion
in recoiling.

If life were a poem
to the Earth,
I would find renewal
in the falling
of ancient protection
and possibilities would blossom
from decay.

If my life were a poem
to myself,
I would become a vessel
deep enough to embrace
betrayal
and belonging
with unabashed gladness.

If my life were a poem
to the one I would become,
I would inhabit this day
with reverence
and choose to make
of surrender
a home.

If my life were a poem
to you,
I would find in my shame
the wounds of the world
and seek in my celebration
the love
that is waiting
to become
our hands. Continue reading

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¡Libérate! / Free Yourself!

–por Matthieu Ricard (Jul 9, 2014) [English below]

liberate-free-yourself¿Qué es la felicidad, y cómo podemos conseguirla? La felicidad no puede reducirse a unas pocas sensaciones gratas. Más bien, es una forma de ser y de experimentar el mundo, una profunda satisfacción que infunde cada momento y perdura a pesar de las inevitables adversidades.

Los caminos que tomamos en la búsqueda de la felicidad a menudo nos llevan, en cambio, a la frustración y al sufrimiento. Tratamos de crear las condiciones externas que, creemos, nos harán felices. Sin embargo, es la mente misma la que traduce las condiciones externas en felicidad o sufrimiento. Es por eso que podemos ser profundamente infelices a pesar de “tenerlo todo”—riqueza, poder, salud, buena familia, etc.—y, a la inversa, podemos permanecer fuertes y serenos en la adversidad.

 La auténtica felicidad es una forma de ser y una habilidad a ser cultivada. Cuando recién empezamos, la mente es susceptible e indomable, al igual que la de un mono o un niño inquieto. Se necesita práctica para lograr paz y fuerza interior, amor altruista, templanza y otras cualidades que conducen a la auténtica felicidad. [...] Continue reading

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A Peace Army is a Service Army

–by Vinoba Bhave (Jul 3, 2014)

DC_give-your-life-awayIf it is not possible to dissolve the army today, we must at least be agreed that we shall dissolve it tomorrow. But so long as you do not give up reliance on arms, this is not going to be. We should, therefore, build the structures of nonviolence in the country. If we can at least show that we do not need police or an army for maintaining internal peace in the country, we shall have some idea of how to introduce nonviolence in international relations. [...]

We need a Shanti Sena, a Peace Army, which can inspire confidence among people in its ability to safeguard peace. Progressively then it will become less necessary to maintain a police for the maintenance of law and order. In course of time the need for an army will also go. The first requirement is, therefore, the formation of a Shanti Sena.

This was Bapu’s dream [Gandhi's dream] of Shanti Sena. The groundwork for it is to deploy a Seva Sena –Service Army– all over the country. Without a Service Army, a Peace Army would not be possible.

In the long run the Peace Army will itself be only a Service Army. It will always keep itself engaged in the work of service, it will familiarize itself with the conditions and when there are disorders it will try to curb them. [...]

Only he can be a soldier of Peace Army, who serves all this like a mother. We serve with the love of a mother and when a bond of affection subsists between us and the people, we shall not consider our life too precious when faced with a difficult situation. Sacrifice will be natural. We shall not consider it a sacrifice at all. It will seem an act of love. The Peace Army will, therefore, always be a Service Army. [...] Continue reading

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A Gift for Tatiana, Oscar Grant’s Daughter

Background:

Oscar_Grant_BART_ticketFor more than 3 years, the last Thursday of each month, some of us have been participating in what we call BART to HEART–an hour of receptive silence on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station were brother Oscar Grant was killed by BART police officer, brother Johannes Mehserle. It is a way to celebrate the life of brother(son-father-friend-husband-neighbor) Oscar and to send a message not only to Tatiana, Oscar’s daughter –who we met once already– and the rest of the Grant family, but also to all East Oakland and the Bay Area community.

It is a message of love delivered by the Great Silence: We forgive this catastrophe of the human family, but we don’t forget your life brother and those like: Andy Lopez, Alex Nieto, Alan Blueford and Trayvon Martin just to name a few others. As the sign we put by the Earth Flag reads: “I’m Oscar Grant and my life matters“.
While the murder of this 22 year-old was done in “private property”, my approach has been that I won’t pay a penny to the BART system to celebrate the life of brother Oscar in this way. Most times we were able to do it very smoothly –even having incredible deep conversations with BART staff– and some other times not. And this last time, June 2014, clearly was on the un-elegant side of nonviolence ;-)

It’s been almost a year since the premier of the film: Fruitvale Station and many more people are starting to grasp what feels to be a person “of color” living in this neighborhood, and in this part of the Planet in general. With dear sister Chinaka Hodge’s play: “Chasing Mehserle“, now there is even more awareness around this issue and the increasing problem of gentrification. At first glance, it seems that killing young people of color and gentrification are disconnected but I invite you to look deeper.

In a way, BART to HEART is another attempt to disarm (the-institutionalized-gang)police, public transportation and our neighborhoods.

True harmony doesn’t come with guns and threat power, but with quiet minds and joyfully nurturing our relationships with neighbors. True harmony comes not with guns but with friendship.

 

What Happened at Last BART to HEART (June 26, 2014)

Nina-Pancho-pin-heart-CdP1Sometimes we have 20 people, other times is only one person. This Thursday it is only sister Nina (who is visiting Casa de Paz at the Canticle Farm) and I.

The sister operating the BART booth is new in that position. It is the first time I have ever seen her in these years. Nina and I are carrying a luggage and a backpack with cushions, blankets and a meditation bell. As I’m crossing the “employees only door” and I’m wearing my usual smile, a yellow ruana and carrying an Earth flag. Just right before reaching the stairs to go to the platform, the sister from the booth yells at us: “excuse me!? where are you going?”

I walk towards the booth, introduce myself as a neighbor of 36th ave, “my family calls me Pancho” and ask for her name. Negative. I begin to explain the purpose of BART to HEART. She barely makes eye contact. In fact, she is back inside the booth, with the door closed, as another 3 young youth with black skin get intrigued by the brief “celebrating-Oscar-Grant’s-life speech” and linger by the booth inside the station. One of them, in her early twenties, and with shining eyes says: “right on brother, much respect, but she is not even listening, look at her, she doesn’t care.” Continue reading

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Celebración de la Voz Humana / Celebration of the Human Voice

–por Eduardo Galeano (Jun 27, 2014) [English below]

DC_space-between-notesTenían las manos atadas, o esposadas, y sin embargo los dedos danzaban. Los presos estaban encapuchados: pero inclinándose alcanzaban a ver algo, alguito, por abajo. Aunque hablar, estaba prohibido, ellos conversaban con las manos.

Pinio Ungerfeld, me enseñó el alfabeto de los dedos, que en prisión aprendió sin profesor:

-”Algunos teníamos mala letra” -me dijo- “otros eran unos artistas de la caligrafía.”

La dictadura uruguaya quería que cada uno fuera nada más que uno, que cada uno fuera nadie; en cárceles y cuarteles y en todo el país, la comunicación era delito.

Algunos presos pasaron más de diez años enterrados en solitarios calabozos del tamaño de un ataúd, sin escuchar más voces que el estrépito de las rejas o los pasos de las botas por los corredores. Fernández Huidobro y Mauricio Rosencof, condenados a esa soledad, se salvaron porque pudieron hablarse, con golpecitos a través de la pared.

Así se contaban sueños y recuerdos, amores y desamores: discutían, se abrazaban, se peleaban; compartían certezas y bellezas y también compartían dudas y culpas y preguntas de esas que no tienen respuestas.

Cuando es verdadera, cuando nace de la necesidad de decir, a la voz humana no hay quien la pare. Si le niegan la boca, ella habla por las manos, o por los ojos, o por los poros, o por donde sea. Porque todos, toditos, tenemos algo que decir a los demás, alguna cosa que merece ser por los demás celebrada o perdonada.

–Eduardo Galeano en El libro de los abrazos [El comic creativo de arriba por Dharma Comics ;-)] Continue reading

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Meaning of Love

by Helen Keller (Jun 19, 2014)


meaning-of-love[Helen Keller tells how, as a deaf and dumb child, she learned the meaning of love from her teacher,  Anne Sullivan.]

I remember the morning that I first asked about the meaning of the word, ‘love’. This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me; but at that time I did not like to have anyone kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently around me and spelled in my hand, ‘I love Helen.’

“What is love?” I asked.

She drew me closer to her and said, “It is here,” pointing to my heart. Her words puzzled me very much because I did not then understand anything unless I touched it.

I smelled the violets in her hand and asked, half in word, half in signs, a question which meant, “Is love the sweetness of flowers?” “No,” said my teacher.

Again, I thought. The warm sun was shining on us. “Is this not love?” I asked, pointing in the direction from which the heat came. Continue reading

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Honrar el Caos / Honor Chaos

por Matthew Fox  (Jun 12, 2014)  [English below]

dragonNada motiva más a la gente que tocar fondo. Pienso que lo que está pasando ahora representa una noche oscura del alma y una noche oscura para nuestra especie. La pregunta es: ¿podemos aprovechar este agravio moral? ¿Podemos canalizarlo en una dirección positiva?

Creo que estamos list@s para algunos cambios; sólo espero que aquellas políticas actuales en oposición tengan alguna dirección positiva para ofrecer. No estoy muy seguro de que así sea; no estoy seguro de que estén hablando sobre una reforma al nivel en que se necesita sobre la creación de literalmente nuevas formas de religión, política, economía y educación. [...]

La palabra desidia viene de acedia, y lo que significaba esta palabra según el pensamiento medieval, de acuerdo a Tomás de Aquino, era una “falta de energía para comenzar cosas nuevas”. Esto incluye al cinismo, la desesperación, la depresión, la pereza.  El entusiasmo, él decía, es lo opuesto a esto. El entusiasmo proviene de una intensa experiencia de la belleza de las cosas, de nuestro Planeta, de nuestra propia especie pienso que de ahí podríamos volver a recuperar la energía.

Una práctica para recuperar esta energía es la meditación.

Todos tenemos que lidiar con nuestro cerebro de reptil y la meditación calma a este cerebro. Pero no se trata de asesinarlo, tal como lo enseñan algunos mitos religiosos Occidentales como el de San Jorge matando al dragón.

Creo que necesitamos aprender a honrar el caos. Creo que el miedo al caos es lo que en realidad inspira a la derecha reaccionaria y al fundamentalismo. ¿Y qué es el caos? Bueno, el caos es la diosa de la naturaleza y en tiempos de la diosa, ella era honrada e integrada, no intentaba ser asesinada. Todavía tenemos algunos remanentes de esto, por ejemplo, en las danzas de dragones en Asia.

Con el machismo, la religión asumió la misión de controlar el caos y ofreció muchas imágenes de matarle. Luego la ciencia asumió el cargo en la era moderna y los científicos se convirtieron en los dirigentes del caos. Pero en la década de 1960, la ciencia descubrió al caos y se dio cuenta, después de todo, de que es una parte integral de la naturaleza. El caos no es algo que intentamos matar, es algo que respetamos. Porque el caos es femenino, notarás que todos los fundamentalistas tienen una compulsión por controlar, y especialmente por controlar lo femenino.

Por supuesto que en la tradición espiritual la dimensión psíquica del caos es la noche oscura del alma, y no estamos lidiando muy bien con ella. Luego del 11 de septiembre de 2001, arremetimos y fuimos a la guerra en la parte del Planeta que llamamos Irak.

La más profunda respuesta al caos surge de la tradición mística para lidiar con la noche oscura del alma. Primero te purificas y luego descubres qué es lo que aprecias de verdad y lo que realmente estás anhelando.

 

–Matthew Fox de la entrevista Impaciencia Santa en YES! Magazine  [Dibujo por Anónimo  ;-)] Continue reading

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Learning To Learn

By Conrad P. Pritscher  (Jun 05, 2014)

eye-ConradMatter is like a small ripple on this tremendous ocean of energy, having some relative stability and being manifest….and in fact beyond that ocean may be still a bigger ocean… the ultimate source is immeasurable and  cannot be captured within our knowledge.” –David Bohm

Schools and universities can be stressful places and have become training places for corporations where students have little control. As a result, citizens notice less and think they have less power to work toward what democracies need to do. As a result of narrow school and university training, citizens wait for some corporate or governmental authority to curtail the injustices done as a result of placing power in the hands of relatively few. We now train students for skills that will soon be outdated. Obedience to authority in these places is operating so well that practical wisdom and individual judgment are absent. Schools and universities have trained us to be more fearful of making mistakes, and as a result, we are often unimaginative and we keep our mouths shut about injustices. [...]

Albert Einstein’s thoughts may help us learn to reduce silence about injustices. [...] It takes two things to develop wisdom: You need to have autonomy, and you need to try things and see them fail and get feedback and slowly over time develop a kind of sensitivity to what each situation demands. If you put people in a situation where they are rigidly following rules, they will never have the opportunity to develop this judgment. Rules eliminate the need for judgment. [...]

Einstein implied that uncertainty and appropriate “not knowing” may help us know more, and may help one free one’s self. [...] If more is to be known, we may need more boldness, and courage in looking at what is unknown. Learning to learn may also require some boldness and daring. Our past training has avoided boldness, and daring. Boldness and daring are often disordered and seen by others as random. An aspect of powerful learning is to learn to give oneself conscious permission to make mistakes, then more inventiveness will flow. [...]

Einstein’s breakthrough thinking was being compassionate, and helping one think something that can’t be learned from textbooks. What can’t be learned from textbooks is that which can’t be said. Learning what can’t be said includes what is known and what is unknown. Furthermore, it is posited that some residue of “unknown” will always remain regardless of the thoroughness of the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  [...] Continue reading

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Pájaro Enjaulado / Caged Bird

por Maya Angelou  (Mayo 29, 2014)  [English below]

birdEl pájaro libre salta
al lomo del viento
y flota viento abajo
hasta que cesa la corriente;
moja sus alas
en el naranja de los rayos de sol
y osa reclamar el cielo.

Pero un pájaro que acecha
en su jaula angosta
apenas puede ver tras
las rejas de rabia
sus alas están contraídas y
sus pies atados luego,
abre la garganta para cantar.

El pájaro enjaulado canta
un temeroso trino
sobre algo desconocido
mas ansiado aún
y desde la lejana colina
se escucha la melodía
pues el pájaro enjaulado
canta a la libertad.

El pájaro libre imagina otra brisa
y tenues vientos alisios entre árboles anhelantes
y los gruesos gusanos que aguardan en el pasto iluminado de alba
y designa al cielo como suyo.

Pero un pájaro enjaulado permanece inmóvil sobre la tumba de los sueños
grita su sombra en el clamor de una pesadilla
sus alas están contraídas y sus pies atados
y luego abre la garganta para cantar.

El pájaro enjaulado canta
un temeroso trino
sobre algo desconocido
mas ansiado aún
y desde la lejana colina
se escucha la melodía
pues el pájaro enjaulado
canta a la libertad.

 

–Maya Angelou, “Pájaro Enjaulado” de Agitador, ¿por qué no cantas?”  [Dibujo por Anónimo  ;-)] Continue reading

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All the True Vows

By David Whyte  (May 23, 2014)

All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

Remember,
in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break, Continue reading

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