this brief life



it seems to me

that life, this brief life,

is nothing other than this:

the incessant cry of these emotions

that drive us, that we sometimes attempt

to channel in the name of a god, a political faith,

in a ritual that reassures us that, fundamentally,

everything is in order, in a great and boundless

love — and the cry is beautiful.  Sometimes

it is a cry of pain. Sometimes

it is a song.


And song,

as Augustine observed,

is the awareness of time. It is time.

It is the hymn of the Vedas that is itself the

flowering of time. In the Benedictus of Beethoven’s 

Missa Solemnis, the song of the violin is pure

beauty, pure desperation, pure joy. We are

suspended, holding our breath, feeling

mysteriously that this must be source

of meaning. That this is the

source of time. 


Then the

song fades and ceases.

“The silver thread is broken,

the golden bowl is shattered, the amphora

at fountain breaks, the bucket falls into the well,

the earth returns to dust.” And it is fine like

this. We can close our eyes, rest. This all

seems fair and beautiful to me.

This is time. 


Carlo Rovelli

set fire to all you think and feel and believe


It’s simple 

to become a sage: all 

that’s required is to burn 

up, die, and cool 

into ashes.


Rise early, 

then, and set fire to

all you think and feel and 

believe. Look beyond the smoke 

of that pit into what is left: 

emptiness filled with 



Breathe it in. 

Pour it out. Circulating 

the Oneness without stopping, 

endlessly renewing your determination, 

working steadily day after day and

year upon year, you’ll find 

yourself alert, rested, 



Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 18

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here lie dragons



think you can attain

total awareness and whole enlightenment

without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania.

Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life

energy toward the light. Without the discipline

to practice them, you will tumble

constantly backward into



Here is

the great secret:

Just as high awareness

of the subtle truth is gained through

virtuous conduct and sustaining disciplines,

so also is it maintained through these

things. Highly evolved beings

know and respect the

truth of this.


from The Hua hu Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 29

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“i am always the student”


I am

always the student.

I love to be in that position,

bowing, listening, at the feet of all

that I see. This doesn’t require an open mind:

it is the open mind. It never has to take responsibility

for knowing or for not knowing. It receives everything without

defense, without judgment, since judgment would cost it everything

it is. The moment you think you’re someone or you think you have

something to teach, the inner world freezes and becomes

the realm of illusion. That’s what it costs when you

identify yourself as the person who knows.

It’s a concoction of mind. You shrink

down into the teacher:

limited, separate,



Byron Katie

nine bows


three takes



are three miracles of our

Brother Jesus not yet recorded in the Book:

the first that he was a man like you and me; the second that

he had a sense of humor; and the third that he

knew he was a conqueror though



Kahlil Gibran


Why do

people hate Jesus,

or at least prefer the ethereal dead

version known as Christ? Because Jesus made

outrageous demands: Love your enemy,

renounce material possessions,

give all you have to

the poor.


Barbara Ehrenreich



conservative is

someone who admires radicals

centuries after they’re



Leo Rosten