You didn't come into this world.
You came out of it,
like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
I'm hearing right and wrong so clearly
there must be more than this
it's only in uncertainty
that we're naked and alive
I hear it through the rattle of a street car
hear it through the things you said
I can get so scared
listen to the wind
That Voice Again, Peter Gabriel/David Rhodes
"Whoever brought me here will have to take me home."
"Pythagoras taught a threefold division of humankind and a threefold division of desire. All men may be compared to people who attend a festival. There are those who are motivated by the love of gain and who go to buy and sell. There are those motivated by the love of honour and they go to compete with and emulate each other in attaining standards of excellence. Then there are those who are concerned with neither gain nor glory because they have either worn out these toys or thought through these illusions, or they are born with a natural indifference to them. Such are wholly concerned with the love of wisdom. Lovers of wisdom may be compared to those who at festivals are like spectators, not participating but at the same time not making external judgements, not buying and selling, not comparing and contrasting, but merely learning what is common to all men, learning something about the noble art of living. They do not do what is unnecessary. They try to find out what is intimated behind the forms in the vaster human drama in which all the world is a stage and men and women merely players. The play is the thing. Quiet attention is the beginning of the way to wisdom in the Pythagorean tradition." (source)
Since everything is but an apparition,
perfect in being what it is,
having nothing to do with good or bad,
acceptance or rejection,
one may well burst out in laughter.
Long Chen Pa
For the absurd man
it is not a matter of explaining and solving,
but of experiencing and describing.
Everything begins with lucid indifference.
"IT'S APPALLINGLY HARD TO DESCRIBE or explain this no-thing, which after all is why it's called ineffable. Basically either there is seeing or there isn't, either the veil is dropped or it isn't. Just being a mystic or a yogi or a shaman of course means little: more dream roles for more dream characters. As long as there is anyone here to understand, there is not understanding. As long as there is anyone here to awaken, there is not awakening. The message of the sutras and the shamans is the same: the person of understanding is the one who dies before she dies, who leaves no footprints, who travels no path, because she knows that as a person, as an entity, she is not. But who can do this, what self can cease to be? None, as Wei Wu Wei would say, because none is: it can only happen. Then there is no one to know but only the knowing, and all this world is as in a dream or a vision; only Brilliance beyond light, Love beyond love, clear knowing pure beauty streaming through these transparent forms and no one here at all."
Excerpt from Perfect Brilliant Stillness: Beyond the Individual Self
"It is the intriguing and paradoxical blend of revolutionary, mystic and philosopher which keeps one mesmerized by the writings of Simone Weil. She speaks to our age in ways that are unique, calling for a new kind of saintliness. It was her firm belief and understanding that the contemplation of the social/political scene of one's own day could be as effective a purification of heart and spirit as any withdrawal into a monastary or cave. To allow the heart to be broken by the suffering of humanity was to allow the opening the Divine needed in order to penetrate one's usual, invincible defense systems."
Regina Sara Ryan, The Woman Awake: Feminine Wisdom for Spiritual Life
"All I wanted to say is this: the misery here is quite terrible and yet, late at night when the day has slunk away into the depths behind me, I often walk with a spring in my step along the barbed wire and then time and again it soars straight from my heart - I can't help it, that's just the way it is, like some elementary force - the feeling that life is glorious and magnificent, and that one day we shall be building a whole new world. Against every new outrage and every fresh horror we shall put up one more piece of love and goodness, drawing strength from within ourselves. We may suffer, but we must not succumb."
Etty Hillesum, Dutch Jew who died November 1943 at Auschwitz
Copyright © 1994-2000 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated July 8, 2000