Temet Nosce (Know Thyself)

This page exists as what used to be known as a "Commonplace Book" for the purpose of maintaining a log of the poetry and philosophy that inspires and propels much of my own thought and writing, and to share, with fellow sojourners, a collection of the beauty and wisdom of kindred souls throughout time. My hope is that we will collectively work towards the goal of a deep and sustaining self-knowledge that will, then, inspire and guide us to pursue beauty, peace and justice in our world.

“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Guiding Presence" Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

"How often have I lost my way? More times than I can remember. Even when I thought the path ahead was clear, when I felt confident in all that I believed, still I would discover I had been sleepwalking into confusion, wandering in places far from the direction I thought I had chosen. And that may be the problem: the idea that I choose my own destiny. I make choices, but I am not the only source of options. We all inhabit histories, long histories, complex and layered. Our lives are not straight lines, but ant-like trails of starts and stops, encounters unexpected, impacts undeserved, emotions moving like currents deep beneath the surface of appearance. The surprise is not that we may lose our way, or that other forces push us like the winds at sea, but that when we are confused there is a presence that can guide us, a love that can sustain us, a vision of light that parts the mists and shows us how to navigate to safer shores. How often has this holy friend found me when I most needed it? More times than I can remember. "

~ Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw

"Close to the Ground II" Lao Tzu

"In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present."

~ Lao Tzu

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Patience" Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 9, 2015

"I Awaken Before Dawn"

I awaken before dawn, go into the kitchen and fix a cup of tea.
I light the candle and sit in its glow on the meditation cushion.
Taking my cup in both hands, I lift it to my Lord and give thanks.
The feel of the cup against my palms brings the potter to mind
and I offer a blessing for his hands.
I give thanks for the clay, the glaze and the kiln.
I take a sip and follow the warmth into my body.
I offer a blessing for those who brought electricity to my home,
who dug the ditches for the lines,
who built my home and put in the wires,
who made my tea kettle and brought me water to fill it.
I take a sip and bless the people in India or China who grew the tea,
cultivated it, picked and dried the leaves, took it to market,
handled it through the many transactions to bring it to my home.
I take a sip and bless those people in Florida, California or Central America
who grew the tree that blossomed into flowers.
I give thanks for the warmth of the sun and the rain which turned the blossoms into lemons,
and I bless the hands that picked the fruit, sorted it, touched it as it traveled from the orchard to my table.
I take another sip and bless the hands of those who provided the sugar
which sweetened the tea, harvested the cane, processed it,
bagged it and sent it on its way to me.
I take another sip and lift my cup in gratitude as I feel the interconnection of my body now with theirs,
my blood now with theirs,
my bones now with theirs,
and my heart fills with love for all of creation.
I give thanks.

~ Helen Moore, "I Awaken Before Dawn"