the moral fighting shape


 

We

have lost the

power even of imagining what

the ancient idealization of poverty could

have meant: the liberation from material attachments,

the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the paying our way

by what we are or do and not by what we have, the right to

fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly—

the more athletic trim, in short,

the moral fighting

shape.

 

William James

 

praise the mutilated world


 

Try

to praise

the mutilated world.


Remember June’s long days,


and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.


The nettles that methodically overgrow


the abandoned homesteads

of exiles.

 

You

must praise

the mutilated world.


You watched the stylish yachts

and ships;
 one of them had a long trip

ahead of it,
 while salty oblivion awaited others.


You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,


you’ve heard the executioners

sing joyfully.

 

You

should praise

the mutilated world.


Remember the moments when

we were together 
in a white room and

the curtain fluttered.
 Return in thought to

the concert where music flared.
You

gathered acorns in the park in

autumn 
and leaves eddied

over the earth’s

scars.

 

Praise

the mutilated world


and the gray feather a thrush lost,


and the gentle light that strays

and vanishes
 and

returns.

 

Adam Zagajewski

 

happy in hardship

 

Calmness

in quietude is

not real calm; when

you can be calm in the

midst of activity, this is the

true state of nature. Happiness

in comfort is not real happiness;

when you can be happy in the

midst of hardship, then you

see the true potential

of the mind.
 
 
Huanchu Daoren

 

hexagram 15, ch’ien / modesty

This hexagram suggests that a deepening of one’s modesty now is a sure means of improving the situation. There is no power so great as modesty for compelling the assistance of the Sage – nor one so hindering as immodesty. Those in high places who retain their modesty are loved by all and continually prosper; those below who cultivate modesty inevitably rise on the strength of their merits, without making enemies along the way.

But what does modesty mean? Certainly it entails a refusal to boast or act imperiously with others, even in small ways. But beyond this steadfast humility it also means that our effort to discern what is right and then do it is constant; we do not work against ourselves, and we do not indulge in doubts about the wisdom of correct conduct. This unwavering commitment to what is correct might be called “the modesty before the Sage”.

So there is in modesty a component of nonaction – that is, not indulging in arrogant, ego-centered behavior – as well as a component of active effort: looking for opportunities to correct ourselves, to assist justice where there is injustice, to feed where there is hunger, to give solace where there is pain.

Finally and most plainly, modesty means holding to innocence, sincerity, and openness in every situation. To do this is to empty ourself and make room for the blessings of the Creative to take root.

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 15, Ch’ien / Modesty

 

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Forget the body. 

Let go of sensations 

and obsessions and objects. 

Do not-doing to the point that thoughts 

cease to arise. Releasing mental constructs 

and emotional entanglements, you’ll 

begin to flow as a sage. Then let 

go of that notion on 

top of everything 

else.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 15

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Tear

aside veils

of all you see

in this world, and

you will find yourself

apart in solitude with God.

If you draw aside the veils of

the stars and the spheres, you will

see that all is one with the Essence of

your own pure soul. If you will but tear

aside the veil, you will see nonexistence, and

you will see forthwith the true meaning of God’s

purpose. When you have cast aside the veil, you will

see the Essence, and all things will be shown forth

within the Essence. If you draw aside the veil

from the Face of the Beloved, all that is

hidden will be made manifest, and

you will become one with God,

for then will you be the

very Essence of the

Divine.

 

Attar

 

Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Aina I ka Pono


 

Beyond

our occupation,

each of us has a vocation,

a calling toward sacred service.

This calling may be understood as our

life’s purpose, our personal contribution to

the transformation of the world. Spiritual chivalry

is the cultivation of our capacity to answer the call.

It is to swear oneself body, heart, and soul to the

ideals of truth, justice, peace, and beauty,

and thus sworn, to go forth

into the battle

of life.

 

 
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan