Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Eknath Easwaran

It is the concentrated, focused mind that reaches people. All the great changes in the world for good and for ill have come from the impact of men and women with an overriding singleness of purpose and a concentrated mind.

The last hundred years have seen incessant turbulence, change, and danger. Around the world, people are living with a deep anxiety about the future. In such situations it is only natural to ask now and then, "Why was I born into times like these?" The answer I would give is that we have been born to be of help to others. Desperate times are a sign of a more desperate need. To make our full contribution, we need to train the mind to be at peace and then radiate that peace to those around us.

--from Blue Mountain Journal, Summer 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anna Della Subin

Being in bed is now no excuse for dawdling, and no escape from the guilt that accompanies it. The voice — societal or psychological — urging us away from sloth to the pure, virtuous heights of productivity has become a sort of birdlike shriek as more individuals work from home and set their own schedules, and as the devices we use for work become alluring sirens to our own distraction. We are now able to accomplish tasks at nearly every moment, even if we prefer not to.

From "How to stop time" Anna Della Subin, NYTimes, 9/26/14

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eknath Easwaran

April 17
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.
The mind does not like to meditate; it wants to wander. When someone is not doing very well in meditation, one explanation is simple: his or her mind is elsewhere. The early stages of meditation are like a primary school for the mind. At first we are simply trying to get the mind to stay on the school grounds until the last bell rings. This is all we can do at first. The mind has been playing truant for years; when we try to concentrate, it simply is not present. All we can do is stand at the doorstep and whistle, trying to call it back in.
Even if all we do in thirty minutes of meditation is to call the mind back thirty times, we have made great progress. We don’t have to wait for the day when the mind is completely still to receive immense benefits from meditation. As the Bhagavad Gita says, even a little of this discipline protects us from great dangers.

-From Words to Live By

Lena Dunham

I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roger Ebert

How can I begin to tell you about Chaz? She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading.

--about his wife, Chaz. From his memoir, Life Itself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

George Bilgere

Just when you'd begun to feel

You could rely on the summer,

That each morning would deliver

The same mourning dove singing

From his station on the phone pole,

The same smell of bacon frying 

Somewhere in the neighborhood,

The same sun burning off

The coastal fog by noon,

When you could reward yourself

For a good morning's work

With lunch at the same little seaside cafe

With its shaded deck and iced tea,

The day's routine finally down

Like an old song with minor variations,

There comes that morning when the light

Tilts ever so slightly on its track,

A cool gust out of nowhere

Whirlwinds a litter of dead grass

Across the sidewalk, the swimsuits

Are piled on the sale table,

And the back of your hand,

Which you thought you knew,

Has begun to look like an old leaf.

Or the back of someone else's hand.

"August" by George Bilgere, from The Good Kiss. © Akron, 2002.