Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth,
that around every circle another can be drawn;
that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning;
that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon,
and under every deep a lower deep opens.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles
A short note on the passing of time: I started this blog ten years ago this week, and, once I got going, have posted every day since then. Some of you have been with me since those early days, and I thank you for your support and encouragement. I am very grateful to everyone who stops by, even if just once.
I post to remind myself to begin anew every day and hope that the thoughts selected help you see the world in new and fresh ways too.
That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air… Another Fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
Abba Poemen said about Abba Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.
Abba Poemen, Egyptian monk, (c. 340–450)
The wise person man, perceiving wealth and craving,
Knows them to be empty illusion;
Food and clothes sustain our body and life;
But I advise you to learn
Being as is.
When it’s time, I leave my hermitage and go,
And there’s nothing to be left behind
Layman Pang, 740 – 808, Chinese Chan layman
Everything you see has its roots
in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal–
growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?–
That Source is within you,
and this whole world
is springing up from it.
The Source is full,
its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry —
This is the endless Ocean!
Rumi, A Garden beyond Paradise
Almost all cultures have the notion that there is a judgment when we die. Some kind of accounting has to be made of one’s life. I believe God — and to me “God” is just shorthand for the ineffable divine presence — has only one question for us at the end: “Did you become yourself?” We have a seeded self that begins to germinate at birth. Our true goal in life is to become that self.
There’s an African proverb: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.
Michael Meade, Your Own Damn Life
It’s a funny thing… but people mostly have it backward.
They think they live by what they want.
But really, what guides them is what they’re afraid of.
What they don’t want.
Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed