Posted in Corina L. Ravenscraft, poem, story

A few bits of Soul Sustenance – A story, a quote and a poem

One of the things I like about parables or fables is that they have seeds of truth and wisdom condensed into “bite-sized” amounts of reading. I enjoy looking for new ones which I haven’t read and sometimes come across old favorites. For those of you seeking “Truth” (and all that the word with a capital “T” entails) I offer the following story:

The seeker of truth

“After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. ‘Ask the well what is truth’, he was advised, ‘and the well will reveal it to you’. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, ‘Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking’.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, ‘You will understand in the future.’ When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of – or so he thought at the time – the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.” ~ Author Unknown Source

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful sounds of a Sitar (the instrument mentioned in the story above), I offer the following beautiful example from one of the greatest players of our time, Ravi Shankar:

In addition to truth, one also needs moments of stillness and meditation to keep balance in life. The photo below is mine, but the quote is Lao Tzu’s:

Be stillAnd lastly, a poem written a while ago about something I rarely get to witness, since I’m a night-owl by nature:

~ Sunrise Sighs ~

Today, for the first time in a small while, I was awake to witness a fresh sunrise.

The purpled-pink fingers crept up like a smile,

gently waking the crisp air of still-sleepy skies.

Vaporous flames of bright orange hues, licking the velvet of dew-kissed dawn,

Sleep promised me a solid, deep, dreamless snooze,

But rapt in my awe, I stayed awake and gazed on.

I love the quiet, hushed hours of Night; they keep me content in a solitary peace,

But the rare, glimpsed glory of Morning’s soft light

Makes me ache with a sweetness that begs for release.

~ C.L.R. ~ ©

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Essay, General Interest, Priscilla Galasso

Wise or Otherwise

Editor’s note: This lovely piece was originally posted by Priscilla on her personal blog and is a part of her Advent series. Like a spiritual box of Advent chocolates, each day she unwrapped one of the free gifts life gives us.
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The free gift for today is something that can be acquired, but cannot be bought.  I don’t think that it can be given, either.  The gift is Wisdom.  According to Wikipedia, “Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding.”  In other words, “To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)  However, “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”  (George Bernard Shaw)  And finally, “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”  (Mohandas K. Gandhi)
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It would seem, then, that wisdom is something that can be acquired in living with awareness and engaging humbly with experiences.  It seems to me, though, that you can’t give someone the benefit of this process.  You might point out the process and talk about its benefit, you might set up the beginning of the process, but you can’t impart the journey or the result.  It has to be lived.  I’m a mother; trust me on this.  I wanted to give my children wisdom more than anything, probably for selfish reasons.  I wanted to be spared the pain.  I wanted to spare them the pain.  I asked God to give them wisdom…like on a magic platter descending from heaven…but spare them the pain.  Can’t be done.  Wisdom is born of pain and suffering and effort and failure.  You have to be awake through it all as well.  You can’t gain wisdom while you’re anesthetized.  I’ve made a great discovery, though.  This process is a great equalizer.  Keeping Gandhi’s wisdom in mind, my children and I are fellow travelers on this path.  We share our stories as friends, we perhaps contribute insights to this process, but we cannot assume the roles of provider and receiver.  I try to remember that as I talk to them.  It is too easy for me to slip into the “teacher” role and begin to spew language about what they “should” do and what is the “right” way to do something.  I often issue too many reminders and begin to sound like I’m micro-managing them.   They notice.  They mention it.  I have to challenge myself to be wiser and trust them to be wise.

I remember the day my father told me that something I said was wise.  It felt like a great victory for me.  I was 19 or 20.  I had been talking to my oldest sister about some article I had read in an evangelical Christian newsletter taking issue with science and carbon dating.  My father was eavesdropping from the breakfast room and jumped on the subject by voicing some objection to the fact that the money he was paying for my college education hadn’t stopped me from discoursing like an ignoramus.  I was scared of his strong emotion, ashamed of myself, and angry at his insult.  Embarrassed and hurt, I fled.  We didn’t speak for 3 days.  I realized that he wasn’t going to apologize to me or mention the event on his own, so I decided I needed to take the initiative to talk to him about my emotions, clear the air, and try to restore our relationship.  I’d never talked to my father about our relationship very much before.  He was always right, often angry, and anything that was amiss was my fault.  I also knew that he would not show his emotions, that it would be a “formal discussion” on his part, but that I would probably not be able to contain my tears, making me feel foolish and not his equal.  I decided to brave the consequences and approach him with Kleenex in hand.  I began to talk, and cry, and tell him how I felt.  Then he asked me if I wanted an apology.  “What do you want me to say?”  I told him that part was up to him.  My dictating an apology to him would be meaningless.  That’s when he said, “That is very wise.”   Suddenly, I felt I had grown up and been respected as an equal to my father in some way.   What I understood or didn’t understand about evolution and carbon dating and creation didn’t matter to me any more.  That I had been able to navigate emotions with my father and repair a broken relationship was far more significant.

Dad & me in 1992. Photo by my 8 year old daughter.

Wisdom isn’t easy to get, but it is available.  If you pursue it, you’ll probably get it eventually.  It’s completely avoidable, though, if you so choose.   I know which way I want to go, so I’ll keep paddling my canoe and checking the horizon.   For those of you heading the same way, STEADY ON!  I salute you.

004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey.

Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

Posted in Mortality, Peace & Justice, teacher

“THE TRUE WARRIOR”-The one who sacrifices himself for the good of others!!!!!!

Thanks to WhiteCrow for sharing the wisdom of Sitting Bull. J.D.

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Posted in Essay, Meditation, meditative, Music, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart, Uncategorized

Let Your Light Shine On

Finding Light
The Light Shines On

Where is your light today? What is leading you? What is giving you hope? Joy?

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, …..

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, …..”
― Paul McCartney

A note about the light fixture:

I photographed this light at the Merchant’s Cafe in Seattle, Washington. It is the first cafe in Seattle and has seen several iterations of its business as it was built, burned down, and built again. The interesting thing is that it is in the oldest part of Seattle (of course!). It was built in a building near first avenue. The tidal flats used to flood in every day, twice a day, up to third avenue. This makes doing business quite difficult! Seattle then had businesses build their buildings at least two stories tall. Then they raised all the roads, surrounding the existing buildings with raised roads. For a while, they put ladders at the streets so people would go off of the road, down the ladder, into the businesses.

Finally, they built sidewalks that connected the streets to the second story level of the buildings. So today, in Pioneer Square, when you enter the buildings, you are, in fact, entering the second story of the buildings that were placed there. If you look down, you will notice odd glass squares in the sidewalk. Those were originally skylights so that the first story of the buildings were kind of like an inside shopping mall with a view to the sidewalk above. So even there, in the midst of a buried first floor of these buildings, the light was still able to shine!

Such a fun history!

Shalom and Amen.

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved, originally posted at http://www.cloakedmonk.com

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com

Posted in Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

The Invisible Spiral of Violence

What Christ Saw from the Cross
What Christ Saw from the Cross

I am away working with youth affected by incarceration this weekend. I recently read the below meditation and found it to be moving. I hope you will also find inspiration. Terri

From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Center for Action and Contemplation

The Invisible Spiral of Violence

“If you cannot recognize evil on the level of what I call the world, then the flesh and the devil are inevitable consequences. They will soon be out of control, and everything is just trying to put out brush fires on already parched fields. The world or “the system” is the most hidden, the most disguised, and the most denied—but foundational—level of evil. It’s the way cultures, groups, institutions, and nations organize themselves to survive.

It is not “wrong” to survive, but for some reason group egocentricity is never seen as evil when you have only concentrated on individual egocentricity (“the flesh”). That is how our attention has been diverted from the whole spiral of violence. The “devil” then stands for all of the ways we legitimate, enforce, and justify our group egocentricity (most wars; idolization of wealth, power, and show; tyrannical governments; many penal systems; etc.), while not now calling it egocentricity, but necessity!

Once any social system exists, it has to maintain and assert itself at all cost. Things we do inside of that system are no longer seen as evil because “everyone is doing it.” That’s why North Koreans can march lockstep to a communist tyranny, and why American consumers can “shop till they drop” and make no moral connections whatsoever. You see now why most evil is hidden and denied, and why Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34) We don’t.”

Shalom and Amen
Chaplain Terri

Illustration ~ photograph of opaque watercolor over graphite on gray-green woven paper circa 1886 by James Tissot (1836-1902) and released into the public domain.

RICHARD ROHR, OFM is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mystical and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. MORE

The foundational elements of The Perennial Tradition are: 1.) There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things. 2.) There is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity, and longing for this Divine Reality. 3.) The final goal of existence is union with this Divine Reality.

terriTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com

Posted in Essay, General Interest, Guest Writer

LIFE INTO ART

2-1-13-2LIFE INTO ART

by

Marilynn Mair (Celebrating a Year)

I think, looking back at my wayward path through the years, that the most valuable life skill one needs to develop in order to succeed, is to learn how to improvise. Life will never be smooth or rosy, except in very small stretches. Opportunities for your skill set may never materialize, love may not be as generous to you as you are to it, life as you planned it will definitely at some point go astray. Set-backs and tragedies await, and if you are to cope, to carry on, you need to be able to take a hard look at the pieces on the board and figure your best way forward. Right where you stand, right where you never expected to be. Imagination helps, optimism is a crucial ingredient even if it seems to have temporarily disappeared. No one teaches us how to do this, we learn from necessity. But it certainly puts jazz in a whole different perspective. And poetry, abstract painting, things most people think they don’t understand. Because, really, we are all just learning how to make life imitate art.

I think that if all we had in life to guide us was this paragraph by Marilynn Mair, we’d be okay. Life is the art of taking the jarring notes, the unlikely word, the unexpected juxtapositions, the odd shadings and turning them into something lovely. Life is the teacher. Art is the text. Creating art is survival, the way we work out understanding and meaning. Jamie Dedes

© 2013,essay and photographs, Marilynn Mair, All rights reserved

Rs-roda-016-e1335986264463-300x258MARILYNN MAIR ~ of Celebrating a Year is known as the “angel of the tremolo” and “the first lady of mandolin”. Marilynn is Professor of Music at Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island. Her most recent CDs are Meu Bandolim and Enigmatica. Her most recent book is Brazilian Choro – A Method for Mandolin.  For more of Marilynn’s story, link HERE. Marilynn Mair is a contributing writer to Into the Bardo.

Posted in General Interest

OUR DISPOSTIONS …

Martha Washington (American, 1731-1802)

The first First Lady of the United States

Wife of George Washington, first president of the United States

I’ve learned from experience 

that the greater part of our happiness or misery

depends on our dispositions

and not on our circumstances.


Photograph ~ via Wikipedia and in the U.S. Public Domain.

Sincere thanks to gratefulness.org for sharing this quote with us. J.D.

Posted in Art, Buddhism, Spiritual Practice

BRIGHTEN THE PATH

IF YOU LIGHT A LAMP

FOR SOMEONE,

IT WILL BRIGHTEN

YOUR OWN PATH.

The Buddha

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Photo credit ~ Thai Buddha, large stone, 15th – 17th Century courtesy of the curator of The Buddha Gallery.

Posted in Art, Buddhism

RENEW HUMANITY

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, knd speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” Buddha

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Photo courtesy of the curator of The Buddha Gallery, a 15h Century Buddha or Bodhisattva, China, Bronze.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

SUSPICIONS

SUSPICIONS

by

Jamie Dedes

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suspicions I harbor deep at heart

some inkling of unity beyond division

of mystical, not mythical

of cup, not sword

lost in strange exotic search

found in the old oriental prescriptions

the angel wings of compassion and wisdom,

the sacred in ordinary time

the simple me and thee of

the anointed, appointed, awakened before myths and dogma

something sweet in orthopraxy, not orthodoxy

in ontology, not theology

the clear light of universal wonder

funding a commonwealth of saints

healing broken hearts and our war-weary world

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Photo credit ~ Johnson Cherian, Public Domain Picures.net.