True potential

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 Calm in quiet times is not real calm:

When you can be calm in the midst of activity, this is the true state of nature.

Happiness in time of comfort is not real happiness

When you can be happy in the midst of challenges, then you see the true potential of the mind.

Hanchu Daoren, Chinese philosopher, 1572 – 1620

photo bureau of land management

Birdsong on the first day of Spring

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I don’t know where prayers go, or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
     half-asleep in the sun?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
     growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
     along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
     of little importance, in full
self-attendance.  A condition I can’t really
     call being alive
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition, or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
     if it isn’t a prayer?

Mary Oliver, I Happened to Be Standing

photo sylvain haye