“….he is Christ’s ambassador….”

In “Waking Up: Searching for Spirituality Without Religion”, Sam Harris, the neuroscientist who battles superstition, and popular religion, tells us that “the insights we can have in meditation….confirm some well-established truths about the human mind: Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experience of the world..”

Matthieu Ricard writes in “The Art of Meditation” that “The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the word or, to put it another way, to transform ourselves so we can become better human beings in order to serve others in a wiser and more efficient way. It gives your life the noblest possible meaning.”

Photo by Kalen Emsleyon Unsplash

Mary Oliver sings, i think, of a person who has realized what Sam and Matthieu are talking about (in her poem “On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate (Psalm 145)” (published in her collection “Devotions”)

I know a man of such

mildness and kindness it is trying to

change my life. He does not

preach, teach, but simply is. It is

astonishing, for he is Christ’s ambassador

truly, by rule and act. But, more,

he is kind with the sort of kindness that shines

out, but is resolute, not fooled….

….riding out

under the storm clouds, against the world’s pride and unkindness,

with both unassailable sweetness, and tempering word.

Peace 🙂

“Smaller than a grain of rice is the Self….Yet……greater than all the words.”

In “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”, we read theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli’s mind-bending line about “Nature….our home”

“This strange, multicoloured and astonishing world which we explore – where space is granular, time does not exist, and things are nowhere….”

From thousands of years ago, we hear a similar mind-bending thought from a sage about the nature of Reality (in the Chandogya Upanishad translated by Swami Prabhavananda, “The Upanishads: The Breath of the Eternal”):

“Smaller than a grain of rice is the Self; smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed, yea, smaller even than the kernel of a canary seed.Yet again is that Self, within the lotus of my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the heavens, yea, greater than all the words.”

Evening skies, Coimbatore, India — the Bibliophile

Max Planck, the Physics Nobel Laureate credited as being one of the parents of Quantum Theory, writes in his 1932 book “Where is Science going?” of “the ultimate mystery of nature” — a mystery“we ourselves are part of….”, which “Science cannot solve….”

In the poem “Mysteries, Yes” (published in “Devotions”), Mary Oliver sings:

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.

Peace 🙂

Be Light

In the poem “Poppies” (“New and Selected Poems: Volume One”), Mary Oliver gently asks each of us to be light:

….light

is an invitation

to happiness,

and that happiness,

when it’s done right,

is a kind of holiness,

palpable and redemptive.


Swami Vivekananda says (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”): “”Be like a lily — stay in one place and expand your petals; and the bees will come of themselves.”….The power is with the silent ones, who only live and love and then withdraw their personality. They never say “me” and “mine”; they are only blessed in being instruments. Such men are….Christs and Buddhas, ever living fully identified with God, ideal existences, asking nothing, and not consciously doing anything. They are the real movers….absolutely selfless, the little personality entirely blown away, ambition non-existent. They are all principle, no personality.” 

Elsewhere he says: “Bring your own lotus to blossom: the bees will come of themselves.” 

“Lighthouse” — painting by Deepa Krishnan

In “Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life”, we read Anne Lamott: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

Prayer from the heart

In “Thomas Merton In Alaska – The Alaskan Conferences, Journals, and Letters”, a record of talks, notes, and journal entries that Thomas Merton wrote in 1968, shortly before he passed on, he teaches us about prayer: “You don’t get to God through a system. You speak from your heart”.

Mary Oliver begins the poem “Six Recognitions of the Lord” (“Devotions”) with a similar teaching:

I know a lot of fancy words.

I tear them from my heart and my tongue.

Then I pray.

The Tatar-American poet, Adnan Onart, writes “The Morning Prayer”, and takes us beyond words:

In a poor Istanbul neighborhood,

at the ground floor of our house,

my great-grandmother says:

It is time for morning prayer.

If you pray, she says, pure as a child,

from this corner of the room,

an angel will appear.

I am five years old closing my eyes.

Allahü Ekber.

Essallamü alleyküm ve rahmetullah.

I am fifty opening my eyes.

In Boston, Massachusetts,

in a not so poor neighborhood

at the top floor of our house

praying my morning prayer.

From that corner of the room,

my great-grandmother appears.

thebibliophile — the sky this morning, Coimbatore, India

It appears that the sky has been praying all night, and the sun is appearing in a corner…..

Peace 🙂