MYSTERIES, YES

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous

to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the

mouths of the lambs.

How rivers and stones are forever

in allegiance with gravity

while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds

will never be broken.

How people come, from delight or the

scars of damage,

to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those

who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say

"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,

and bow their heads.”


~Mary Oliver,Evidence: Poems

All through autumn we hear a double voice: one says everything is ripe; the other says everything is dying. The paradox is exquisite. We feel what the Japanese call "aware"--an almost untranslatable word meaning something like "beauty tinged with sadness.

~ Gretel Ehrlich

"If a seed has to grow with a rock on top of it, or in deep shade, or without enough water, it won't unfold into a healthy full-sized plant. It will try – hard – because the drive to become what you were meant to be is incredibly powerful. But at best it will become a sort of ghost of what it could be: pale, undersized, drooping... In the age of ecology, we ourselves are the only creature we would ever expect to flourish in an environment that does not give us what we need! We wouldn't order a spider to spin an exquisite web in empty space, or a seed to sprout on a bear desktop. And yet that is exactly what we have been demanding of ourselves."

~ Barbara Sher, Wishcraft, p. 47

"We are motivated more by aversion to the unpleasant than by a will toward truth, freedom, or healing. We are constantly attempting to escape our life, to avoid rather than enter our pain, and we wonder why it is so difficult to be fully alive. " 

~ Stephen Levine

"The psyche appears to everyone as that which is reality to him and it takes an exceedingly long self-education to see that one's own experience is not the general experience."

~ C.G. Jung

"Hence, unless we prefer to be made fools of by our illusions, we shall, by carefully analyzing every fascination, extract from it a portion of our own personality, like a quintessence, and slowly come to recognize that we meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life." 

~ C.G. Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy, Page 316

“I am one of the searchers. There are millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery & unspeakable beauty. We like forests & mountains, deserts & hidden rivers, & lonely cities. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know."

~ James Kavanaugh

"Sunsets transfix us, seem to soothe us with their undeniable evening truth: finished, over, changing into something else. These fadings can’t be doctored, and this “defeat” awakens us to the inherent beauty of what cannot be fixed in time. So what might happen if we stepped more fully beyond the bounds of conventional aesthetics? We would see the loveliness of a cracked china teapot, a pile of rusty keys, a rocking chair—like the one I have—whose broken rocker resists the glue with which I keep trying to repair it. What if we left the flowers to shrivel in the vase, allowed the peeling paint of a front door to reveal its layers of color, right down to bare wood? What if we looked in the mirror and appreciated the scar, the asymmetry, the wrinkles and gray hair, the age spots and the sagging skin? What if we lived with a wilderness mind, in which change is the only constant, and the process of decay is recognized as beautiful? . . . It is this turning toward, rather than away from, impermanence that relieves us of the burden of our futile attachments and makes a humbled love possible. We become available to the beauty of the moment as it is, and available to one another as we are."

~ Joyce Kornblatt, 

"All meaningful change requires a genuine surrender. Yet, to surrender does not simply mean to give up; more to give up one's usual self and allow something other to enter and redeem the lesser sense of self. In surrendering, we fall to the bottom of our arguments and seek to touch the origin of our lives again. We fall in order to find what has secretly carried us all along and would now become consciously known."

~ Michael Meade

"We have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."

~ Joseph Campbell

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

~ Mary Oliver

(excerpt from poem: Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?)

 "For the world is movement, and you cannot be stationary in your attitude toward something that is moving."

~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

"In the mode of "beyond doer and done to," something shifts... Self-esteem is no longer dependent on being the winner, or on being right. Up and down are no longer the only criteria by which life is measured. The seesaw gives way to a merry-go-round, known in Buddhist culture as the wheel of life. In this model, it is clear that we cycle through all the manifestations of what it means to be human. We move from state to state, sometimes causing each other pain and sometimes bringing each other joy. As the seesaw gives way to the merry-go-round, an appreciation is gained of the difficulties and complexities involved in being human. Not only are we all completely capable of hurting one another but we are also capable of a profound empathy, even for those who have hurt us or for those we disdain."

~ Mark Epstein

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man's pride.”

~ William James

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”

~ Rachel Naomi Remen