Friday, January 27, 2012

Sir J. Stephen

Every man has in himself a continent of undiscovered ability. Happy is he who acts as the Columbus to his own soul.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thomas A Kempis and Eknath Easwaran

Wherever you go, you will always bear yourself about with you, and so you will always find yourself.
 - Thomas A. Kempis

There is only one way to get a real vacation: get as far away from the ego as possible. Worrying about your problems all the time makes for misery with a capital M. For getting away from misery, I recommend this "economy plan": do not feed your ego and your problems, with your attention. They will soon lose weight.
 - Eknath Easwaran

Thursday, January 12, 2012

George Bernard Shaw and Eknath Easwaran

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
  – George Bernard Shaw

All of us have tasted the freedom and happiness that self-forgetfulness brings. In watching a good game of tennis or becoming engrossed in a novel, the satisfaction comes not so much from what we are watching or reading as from the act of absorption itself. For that brief span, our burden of personal thoughts is forgotten. Then we find relief, for what lies beneath that burden is a still, clear state of awareness.

The scientist or the artist absorbed in creative work is happy because she has forgotten herself in what she is doing. But nowhere will you find personalities so joyous, so unabashedly lighthearted, as those who have lost themselves in love for all. That is the joy we glimpse in Saint Francis or Mahatma Gandhi. To look at the lives of men and women like these is to see what joy means.
  – Eknath Easwaran

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Philip Levine

It is the imagination that gives us poetry. When you sit down to write a poem, you really don't know where you're going. If you know where you're going, the poem stinks, you probably already wrote it, and you're imitating yourself.

You have to follow where the poem leads. And it will surprise you. It will say things you didn't expect to say. And you look at the poem and you realize, "That is truly what I felt. That is truly what I saw."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mark Strand

Now that the vegetarian nightmare is over and we are back to
our diet of meat and deep in the sway of our dark and beauty-
ful habits and able to speak with calm of having survived, let
the breeze of the future touch and retouch our large and hun-
gering bodies. Let us march to market to embrace the butcher
and put the year of the carrot, the month of the onion behind
us, let us worship the roast or the stew that takes its place once
again at the scared center of the dining room table.
"A Short Panegyric" by Mark Strand, from Almost Invisible

Friday, January 6, 2012

E. L. Doctorow

Here's how it goes: I'm up at the stroke of 10 or 10:30. I have breakfast and read the papers, and then it's lunchtime. Then maybe a little nap after lunch and out to the gym, and before I know it, it's time to have a drink.
--the author on his writing routine

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marcus Jackson

and praise the kettle whistle,
imitating an important train,
delivering us

these steam-brimmed sips of tea.

--from "Winter Thanks" by Marcus Jackson in Neighborhood Register