20 June 2004
Personal empowerment is a two-step process: The first lesson is that you can effect significant changes
in the world by directed action continued over an extended period of time, with single-minded purpose,
but also with re-examination, learning and adaptive flexibility.
The second lesson is pure faith.
A person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human.
To become human: for this end has this individual person been created.
18 June 2004
"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame."
Sonnets from the Portuguese, #26
Elizabeth Barrett fell from a horse and sustained a spinal injury that
kept her bedridden for 25 years. She read and studied, and wrote
poetry in her room. Her published work reached the eyes of a kindred
poet, and Robert Browning pursued and wooed her by mail. They were
married when she was 40 and he 34 years old. So nurturing was his
love, that she rose from bed and shed her handicap, walked again and
danced, bore a child.
Her father never forgave her for marrying Browning, and they were
estranged the rest of his life.
17 June 2004
We think we're supposed to be compassionate and non-judgmental, so
we put on a facade and try to act that way. That may be useful up to a
point -it's good to know that we can control our actions and behave
well regardless of how we feel inside - but unless we're completely
honest about how angry and judgmental we really are, and willing to
sit with those thoughts and feelings and label them carefully over and
over, we are never going to engage them in a meaningful way. We can't
will the change, we can only be honest, pay attention, and let any
change happen as it happens in it own time.
One of my favorite stories is about an encounter between George Fox
the founder of the Quakers and William Penn, one of his disciples. The
Quakers were complete pacifists at a time when gentlemen all went
around wearing swords, almost the way today we would wear a tie. And
William Penn was a very worldly gentleman doing his best trying to
practice this new faith. And so he came to Fox and asked if really
should give up wearing a sword. And Fox replied, "Wear it as long
as you can."
16 June 2004
We seek a balance among intellect, spirit and emotion. For
intellectuals, there’s a tendency for reasoning to roll over the
other two, becoming a consolation and then a drug. Zen practice is a
technology for turning the mind in upon itself, and thereby opening
So it is in this spirit (and without suggestion of
anti-intellectualism) that I read e e cummings’s romantic gem, since
feeling is first.
"wholly to be a fool
Spring is in the world"
15 June 2004
Truth always rests with the minority, and the
minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is
generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the
strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no
opinion-and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident
that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion … while Truth
again reverts to a new minority
- from Kierkegaard's Diary, 1850 trans. Peter Rohde
14 June 2004
Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.
- Soren Kierkegaard
(Either/Or vol 1, 1843)
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