The Hidden One

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Al-Batin is the most hidden treasure, the secret of secrets. The essence of God is utterly hidden, but it is not hidden inside of something else. There is nothing for it to be hidden within.   —  Meyer, Wali Ali; Hyde, Bilal (2012-07-15). Physicians of the Heart: A Sufi View of the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah. Sufi Ruhaniat International.

 

The hidden One

waits in sacred longing and anticipation

in the place that can be found with close attention

in silence.

Often found in the empty space within a sound or a note,

there It is:

Yes!  I knew it all along.

Why, it’s perfectly natural.

 

Then the rest falls away.

It never mattered in the first place,

nor did it exist to begin with.

A great relief.

 

Thanksgiving 2016, without a leg to stand on

Sometimes there is nothing left but Rilke:

I love you, gentlest of Ways, Thanksgiving-2016 with Rilke
who ripened us as we wrestled with you.
You, the great homesickness we could never shake off,
you, the forest that always surrounded us,
you, the song we sang in every silence,
you dark net threading through us,

You began yourself so greatly
on that day when you began us—
and we have so ripened in your sunlight,
spreading far and firmly planted—
that now in all people, angels, madonnas, you can decide:
the work is done.

 

Let your hand rest on the rim of Heaven now
and mutely bear
the darkness we bring over you.

Barrows, Anita (2005-11-01). Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (Kindle Locations 823-830). Penguin Group US.

And that is enough.

 

The Earth Stands Still

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STANDSTILL

Evil people do not further
The perseverance of the superior man.
The great departs; the small approaches.

On Election Night 2016, as we all began to see what was happening, I went to throw an iChing, which often comforts me in times of horror.  The hexagrams that came up for “Present” and “Future” were both “Stagnation” or “Standstill”

In a state of standstill or decline, confusion and disorder come along. Inferior forces are on the rise, when the powers of clarity and creativity are on the decline. In such times, the wise take shelter in their own integrity and quietly remain faithful to their principles. Retreat from public activities and common exchanges until the times favor direct action.

During periods of stagnation, inferior elements in society come to the forefront. When the inmates are overrunning the asylum, summon up your fortitude, hide your worth and withdraw. Concentrate on your personal affairs with a quiet dignity, even if that means forfeiting short-term rewards.

Desiring to change a situation too quickly often creates extra conflict. By accepting hardship, while striving to maintain integrity, you are preparing for future growth. “A seed of prosperity is often hidden inside the husk of misfortune.”

Draw your own conclusions.

Leonard

I lost my way, I forgot to call on your name. The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory. But you are here. You have always been here. The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place.
Blessed is the one who waits in the traveller’s heart for his turning. –  Leonard Cohen

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The doors keep opening and closing… Beauty and ugliness.  When will we learn?

On Election Night

When a country obtains great power,
it becomes like the sea: all streams run downward into it.
The more powerful it grows,
the greater the need for humility.
Humility means trusting the Tao,
thus never needing to be defensive.
A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.
If a nation is centered in the Tao,
if it nourishes its own people
and doesn’t meddle in the affairs of others,
it will be a light to all nations in the world.

-Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching 61

Critical Thinking

critical-thinking

I have been thinking, in this election season, about the art of critical thinking.  There’s not a lot of it around at the moment.  I know this, because I used to teach it to undergrads, and I always pointed out that if they would learn this skill, no one could ever make a fool of them.  Yet fools abound.

Here’s a definition of critical thinking from a pretty neat page I found:

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/our-concept-of-critical-thinking/411)

There are a lot of lies being told just now, many of them masquerading under the guise of “fact” taken out of context, misread, misinterpreted, falsified, etc., etc. . . . If we are willing to believe whatever comes before us instead of using our powers of reasoning, of careful reading, checking of sources, and questioning motivations and agendas including our own, perhaps we need to ask ourselves what our own motivations and agendas are.

And THAT is the last thing I will say about this particular election, except that I am embarrassed to be an American just now.