Tuesday, February 20, 2018


is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties: all of us are afraid of loss, in all its forms, all of us, at times, are haunted or overwhelmed by the possibility of a disappearance, and all of us therefore, are one short step away from dishonesty. Every human being dwells intimately close to a door of revelation they are afraid to pass through. Honesty lies in understanding our close and necessary relationship with not wanting to hear the truth.

The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. Honesty is not the revealing of some foundational truth that gives us power over life or another or even the self, but a robust incarnation into the unknown unfolding vulnerability of existence, where we acknowledge how powerless we feel, how little we actually know, how afraid we are of not knowing and how astonished we are by the generous measure of loss that is conferred upon even the most average life.

Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness. Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.

David Whyte
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Friday, December 22, 2017

in your heart

If in your heart you make
a manger for Love's birth,
Then God will once again
become a child on earth.

Angelus Silesius
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Friday, December 8, 2017

Who is there to say this?

The true voice of what is
Does not need to speak
Because there is nothing else
Apart from it to listen.

Two men debating in a dream
However clever
Cannot come up with anything
The dreamer doesn't know already
Just as two lovers
Cannot better

Without departing from itself
How can the one voice
Say its name?

Without dividing from itself
How can the undivided
See its face?

Mirrors and echoes alone
Are the world we call real -
But what we really are -
Who is there
To say this?


Monday, December 4, 2017


...beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror. 

Kahlil Gibran
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Good Medicine

Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief
all beings free to leave their being
     and enter silence.

The nameless tree with its forest
     of green,
the endless expanse called
     sky, beaks and

feathered wings with their urgent
all around, the light that sets the vital body
     to humming,

and the dark of re-creation:
     the world held for us in promise
until it is loosened from
     our thinking.

Andrew Colliver
with thanks:  Poetry Chaikhana
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Small Ponds

Small ponds freeze first,
in the beginning, with just a film
at sunrise you wouldn't even
notice and then a crust
that lasts till noon.  Now half-sunk slush
doesn't melt and the conspiracy of molecules
spreads to lakes.  In the stillness
of a single night, when one breath
of wind might make the difference
between water and ice, solid reaches in and in
and grasps the last ripple for its own.

Joan Ruvinsky
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Friday, October 20, 2017

In praise of silence

In praise of silence, the less said the better.

However.....let it be said that this is it.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing extraordinary.

The it that this is may be decorated differently moment to moment, now as the furnishings provided by the senses, now as the furnishings provided by the mind.  But the decorations themselves are simply hung on the invisible fabric of this that is all there is.

Perhaps keeping silence is better -  but it must be said that we LOVE the decorations - even to the exclusion of this that makes them visible.  Just the other day I was captivated by.....  And then there was.....   What is captivating now?

Perhaps the less said the better, so we become captivated by silence, ever present in spite of the words, in spite of the story, in spite of ourselves  - silence that interpenetrates all noise and its absence, all image, all sensation - silence that underlies not only the presence of content but the absence of content as well, even presence itself swallowed by silence.....

.....in praise of silence.  That's all.

Joan Ruvinsky
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Sunday, October 8, 2017


I think as long as you are a human being
there is thanking, gratitude for being,
not for being human,
but for being
what you fundamentally are.
Thanking for the sake of thanking.

Jean Klein
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In our consciousness of time

In our consciousness of time
we are doomed to the past.
The future we may dream of
but can know it only after
it has come and gone.
The present too we know
only as the past. When
we say, "This now is
present, the heat, the breeze,
the rippling water," it is past.
Before we knew it, before
we said "now," it was gone.

If the only time we live
is the present, and if the present
is immeasurably short (or
long), then by the measure
of the measurers we don't
exist at all, which seems
improbable, or we are
immortals, living always
in eternity, as from time to time
we hear, but rarely know.

You see the rainbow and the new-leafed
woods bright beneath, you see
the otters playing in the river
or the swallows flying, you see
a beloved face, mortal
and alive, causing the heart
to sway in the rifts between beats
where we live without counting,
where we have forgotten time
and have forgotten ourselves,
where eternity has seized us
as its own. This breaks
open the little circles
of the humanly known and believed,
of the world no longer existing,
letting us live where we are,
as in the deepest sleep also
we are entirely present,
entirely trusting, eternal.

Is it concentration of the mind
our unresting counting
that leaves us standing
blind in our dust?
In time we are present only
by forgetting time.

Wendell Berry
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Monday, October 2, 2017

out beyond ideas

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.


Sunday, October 1, 2017


Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

Galway Kinnell
Photo:  Peter Bowers

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Adamantine Perfection of Desire

Nothing more strong
than to be helpless before desire.

No reason,
the simplified heart whispers,
the argument over,
only This.

No longer choosing anything but assent.

Its bowl scraped clean to the bottom,
the skull-bone cup no longer horrifies,
but, rimmed in silver, shines.

A spotted dog follows a bitch in heat.
Gray geese flying past us, crying.
The living cannot help but love the world.

Jane Hirshfield
Photo:  Peter Bowers