the poise of a dying man

joel rea

 

Beyond

meditation practice,

there is attitude. A beginner

must learn to cultivate what is called,

“the poise of a dying man”. What is this poise?

It is the poise of knowing what is important and what

is not, and of being accepting and forgiving. Anyone who has

ever been at the bedside of a dying man will understand

this poise. What would the dying man do if someone

were to insult him? Nothing. What would

the dying man do if someone

were to strike him?

Nothing.

 

As

he lay there,

would he scheme to

become famous or wealthy?

No. If someone who had once offended

him were to ask him for his forgiveness would he

 not give it? Of course he would. A dying man knows

the pointlessness of enmity. Hatred is always

such a wretched feeling. Who wishes to

die feeling hatred in his heart?

No one. The dying

seek love and

peace.

 

Hsu-Yun 

 

we’re human beings


 

A rat race

is for rats. We’re not rats.

We’re human beings. Reject the insidious

pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties

to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence

in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of

self promotion and self advancement. This is how it

starts and, before you know where you are,

you’re a fully paid up member

of the rat pack. The price

is too high.

 

Jimmy Reid

 

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