There Is No River

There Is No River I said to the wanting-creature inside me: What is this river you want to cross? There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road. Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting? There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman. There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it. There is no ground, no sky, […]

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Wingbeats: The Poetry of Rumi

The rubat, the four-line poem, is indigenous to the Persian language, and Rumi is one of the great innovators with the form. There’s a legend about how the quatrain originated. It’s fair day. A poet and his friends are strolling along in the crowd. They stop to watch some children playing a game. A young boy throws a walnut so that it starts along a groove of the pavement, jumps

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The Wisdom of Solomon

The empty-hearted are quick to criticize; a heart filled with understanding values silence. (11:12) Truth is forever; falsehood lasts but a moment. (12:19) Pretending to knowledge reveals your lack of it; admitting ignorance is the beginning of wisdom. (13:7) A closed mind causes strife; an open mind cultivates wisdom. (13:10) True wisdom is self-understanding; fools deceive only themselves. (14:8) A serious mind seeks understanding, but a fool is satisfied with

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The Poetry of Thomas Merton

Merton came to embrace the profound relationship that developed between his vocation to the silence of his monastic life and its rich and sacralizing effects on his poetics. Against all expectation and in spite of the persistent efforts of the Catholic Church to silence him in the ’60s, Merton emerged as one of the most prominent and effective social critics in twentieth-century America. This irony is not lost on the

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The Poet-Saint Kabir

Truth cannot be revealed by words. The mute person eating sweets only smiles, the sweetness he cannot express. Kabir, who lived between 1398 and 1448, was one of the great poet-saints of India whose works continue to be sung and quoted by millions of people. Although parts of Kabir’s life are surrounded by legend, it is fairly well-established that he was born in Beneras (Varanasi) and was adopted and raised

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The Life and Poetry of Muruganar

 “Vast, whole, immutable, the Self Reflected in the mind’s distorting Mirror may appear to move. Know that it is the image moving. The true Self never moves or changes.” Though the poetry of Muruganar is not widely known, those associated with the life of Ramana Maharshi are familiar with his extraordinary verses, which have been published by Ramanasramam and a few other centers in India. He was often referred to

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Symphony of the Spirit

“So solitary and secret, so remote and far distant from sense, that naught pertaining to it, nor any touch of created things, succeeds in approaching the soul in such a way as to disturb it and detain it on the road of the union of love.” —St. John of the Cross St. John of the Cross is widely regarded one of the great Christian mystics and poets. He was born

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Reflections on Leaves of Grass

“A new order shall arise and they shall be the priests of man and every man shall be his own priest. The churches built under their umbrage shall be the churches of men and women. Through the divinity of themselves shall the kosmos and the new breed of poets be interpreters of men and women of all events and things. They shall find their inspiration in real objects today, symptoms

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Desert Wisdom

The Past Flies Away “The past flies away, coming months and years do not exist: Only the pinprick of this moment belongs to us. We decorate this speck of a moment—time— by calling it a flowing river or a stream. But often I find myself alone in a desert wilderness, straining to catch the faint echo of unfamiliar sounds.” —The Secret Rose Garden by Sufi poet Mahmud Shabistari, thirteenth century

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